Keetmanshoop-National water utility Namwater on Saturday opened the dam sluices at Hardap dam to allow water to flow into Neckartal dam, amid water shortages at the billion-dollar project.
Namwater announced in July that Hardap dam will be opened for the first time in the dry season to get water to the Neckartal dam, as boreholes there have run dry. Last Saturday saw the first opening of the Hardap dam sluices, the first of multiple releases planned.
Speaking to New Era, Namwater public relations officer Johannes Shigwedha said the aim is to avail water to the Neckartal dam for construction purposes and that the water will not be released at once, so as to avoid any damage downstream, or to the actual ongoing construction works.
He said 10 million cubic metres of water would be released from the Hardap dam periodically, with each opening releasing on average two million cubic metres of water, equivalent to two billion litres, which he said will meet the requirements for the further construction of Neckartal dam.
“We will be releasing ten million cubic metres of water, but not all at once. Neckartal will only need one million cubic metres for the construction,” he said.
He further indicated that studies conducted indicated that Hardap dam, which is at 60 percent full, has enough water to release some without severe inconveniences to domestic users and those using the water for irrigation.
He said the water is expected to reach Neckartal dam in October and that the 10 million cubic metres to be released constitute only about three percent of the water in Hardap dam.
The water will flow from Hardap dam through the Fish River to Neckartal dam. Residents living along the river said they were happy to see a flowing river again. They did not expect the release of the water to cause any problems for them or their livestock. The residents said the released water would in fact bring relief to their livestock, as they will now be able to get water straight from the river while out grazing. Some said the water will also help improve vegetation along the boundaries of the river, which is good for the animals.
“The river has been getting dry since it stopped raining, if it means it will be full again then that is good news. Our animals will have enough water and the vegetation can improve as well,” said Simon Jossob.