Hardap is running dry

At a dismal 14.7%, the water levels of the Hardap Dam have forced the green scheme farmers to cut back sharply on irrigation.

01 October 2019 | Disasters

Farmers in the Hardap Region have decided to cut back irrigation by 40% to save water in the Hardap Dam, which is now reaching crisis level.

This came after NamWater met with role players at Mariental last Tuesday to discuss the level of the Hardap Dam and the prospects for agronomists in the area.

The level of the Hardap Dam stood at 14.7% by last week Monday, compared to 38% at the same time last year.

According to the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) the role players were informed that at the current level of consumption, irrigation would grind to a halt by next month.

The estimated monthly water usage from the Hardap Dam is 2% of its capacity. Both the Mariental community and irrigation farms surrounding the dam make use of the water. The NAU said there are 115 drainage points from the river channel, which represents 90% of the consumption from the dam.

“From the remaining 4.5%, purified water for household use will still continue until March 2021 if it does not rain.”

On Thursday farmers met again to discuss the crisis and decided that they would reduce their water usage by 40% from 1 November.

“This will mean that the channel will still provide water for 60% of their farmlands until end of January 2020. Any rain and inflow into the dam before the said date will of course bring relief and will prevent the crisis,” said the NAU.

The Hardap Dam is one of Namibia's largest dams with a capacity of 294 593 million cubic metres. Currently it holds only 43.4 million cubic metres.

Meanwhile, the average level of all Namibia's dams has dropped to 24%, compared to 37.4% at the same time last year.

In the central area the average dam level now stands at 17.2% compared to last year's 29.2%. In the south dam levels stand at 29.5% compared to last year's 46.3%, while dams in the Gobabis area are 1.2% full compared to the 5.2% of last year.

ELLANIE SMIT

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