THE almost three million litres of water that flowed into the Hardap Dam since Friday saved irrigation farmers on the agricultural scheme below the wall from certain ruin as they were able to water their crops for the first time in weeks.
NamWater gave the go-ahead for the extraction of raw water from the dam at the start of the week and at 05:00 this morning the canal filled up with water for the first time in more than two weeks.
Although the extraction of raw water will be limited, the small respite will allow them to water their crops for about two weeks. Enough time, they hope, for more rain to fall over the catchment area of the Fish River to refill the dam sufficiently for them to continue farming.
Dawie De Klerk, the chairman of the Hardap Farmers Union, said the opportunity for farmers to irrigate their crops could not have come at a better moment.
“If the lucerne and other crops had to go another day without water, farmers would have suffered severe losses. Some of the producers had some preparation work to do to avoid pipe bursts and pump failures, but they had enough time since Friday to do so and everything went smoothly.
According to De Klerk NamWater agreed to the use of a million litres of water from the Hardap Dam which would sustain crops for up to seven days. If the farmers use the water sparingly the respite could last for a few days longer. Farmers on the scheme already agreed to only water 60 percent of their fields during October 2019.
De Klerk said if farmers keep to the agreement and if sufficient rain fall as predicted by weather scientists refills the dam, the agreement with NamWater will be reviewed.
Besides the irrigation farmers the super dairy farm on the scheme also benefits from the release of water from the Hardap Dam. The custodians of the !Aimab super farm was forced to water the more than 2 000 dairy cows with treated water for the past two weeks which had severe cost implications.