MARIENTAL - The level of the Hardap Dam has dramatically increased over the past week, bringing a sigh of relief to both residents, irrigation farmers and sports devotees.
On Monday afternoon, the dam level stood at 21, 7% up from 6.5% a week ago, representing a massive 60 million cubic litres. It is expected that the inflow will continue with prospects of good rains forecasted.
However, the canal feeding the irrigation farmers remains empty after it was damaged when the Daweb River burst its banks a week ago. Daweb River is one of the tributaries, others being Auob and Sandberg rivers.
Disappointingly, the situation will remain until the damaged canal infrastructure is repaired. A fortnight ago, NamWater released 1.4 million cubic litres into the canal to alleviate the plight of the irrigation farmers after a decision was taken last month to stop the supply due to alarming level of the reservoir.
The largest man-made reservoir in the country is the lifeline of 16 000 plus residents of Mariental, 25 irrigation farmers, green scheme, a large dairy farm in the country, two medium-size dairies, European Union licensed abattoir and a piggery.
Speaking to New Era on Monday, the chairperson of the Hardap Irrigation Farmers Union, Dawie De Klerk, acknowledged the enormous pressure these entities exert on the water resource.
“We have introduced a 60-40 irrigation policy as a water-saving measure,” De Klerk noted, adding that farmers are faced with decisions that could have dire consequences for the socio-economic stability of the town.
According to De Klerk, the irrigation scheme employs 1000 workers with dependents but has ruled out lay-offs. “We are dealing with livelihoods and job lay-offs is the last resort” He continued that despite the fact that the farmers are operating under well-below normal capacity and suffer significant financial loses, they are optimistic that good rains are coming.
On his part, the CEO of Mariental Municipality, Paul Nghiwilepo, sounded optimism, saying the inflow resulted in an increased level of the dam. “It is a great relief for the town, irrigation farmers and all other industries of the town”.
The world-renowned Fish River
The Hardap Dam is boasting with world-class tourism facilities and incorporates a nature reserve that stretches over 18 000 hectares of land. It is home to the black and white rhino, antelope, oryx, kudu, springbok, and predators such as African wildcat and the black-backed jackal.
2020-02-26 07:09:10 | 4 months ago