& Treasure Kauzuu
MARIENTAL - Speculations that NamWater will stop providing water to irrigation schemes due to the low level of the Hardap Dam at the end of this month are not true, said Dawie de Klerk, Chairperson of the Hardap Farmers Association.
De Klerk said the current 6, 6 percent water level of the dam is sufficient to provide potable water for consumption and irrigation for now until March 2021, in the case that there is no inflow into the dam.
“There are a lot of rumours and opinions around the dam but the actually fact is that the cut-off point of the raw water delivery to the Hardap Scheme is at 4.5 percent of the capacity. If the dam reaches 4.5 percent capacity, we will still have potable water until March 2021, in case there is no inflow. The reports that the dam’s sluices or water delivery sluices will be closed are not true,” said De Klerk.
According to De Klerk, farmers in the area have committed themselves to stop production on 40 percent of their irrigated land to rescue the situation until end of January when the rainy season starts. The rainy season usually starts end of January until April.
“We are looking forward to the rainy season ahead this year and also in 2021, so the chances that the town will be without water is zero. But if there is no inflow into the dam, it will be detrimental. The whole community will be affected; the whole socio-economic system of the Hardap Region will be affected,” said De Klerk.
About 1 000 households benefit direct or indirectly from the Hardap Scheme and will be negatively affected if water to irrigation farms is cut off. Farmers as well as workers at the Hardap Scheme are concerned about the decrease in the dam level.
“It’s like a ripple effect, the scheme supports the town, the Kaap Agri, Agra, the Cooperation and the banks. Everyone is worried,” said Nerine Blankestein, a farmer.
“We don’t know what we will do, if the water gets closed. How will the farmers pay us? We are not even sure if they will pay us this month,” said Mpunza Joseph, a farm worker.
However, De Klerk says there is a silver lining in the level of the dam being low.
“There is something positive, the fact that the dam only has six percent water, which means that there is a lot of place for more water, if there is an inflow, we will be able to handle it,” he said.