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Dark cloud has a silver lining

Dark cloud has a silver lining

Niël Terblanché

WHILE farmers on the irrigation scheme below the Hardap Dam are still assessing the damage caused by the disastrous flash flood, some have already started to plan ahead for better production numbers in the future.

 

The cloud burst of last week Thursday saw as much as 110 millimetres of rain falling in about an hour and caused the Aub River to flood and burst its banks.

 

To the east of the B1 Road, the town was flooded and west of the main road, certain farms on the agricultural scheme suffered the same fate.

 

Dawie De Klerk, the chairman of the Hardap Farmers Union, said that while some farmers suffered damage, the flood did not cause damage on all the farms.

 

“There is also a silver lining to this dark cloud. Although it will cost a lot of money and effort to affect repairs, the opportunity presented itself to the affected farmers to redesign and plan their fields to improve their production potential,” he said.

 

De Klerk said that the damage caused by the flood still has to be calculated and the estimation is that farmers will have to fork out astronomical amounts of money to become productive again.

 

“In most cases, the flood water caused deep erosion ditches and washed away crops and huge amounts of top soil. In other cases, the fields were covered with water as deep as half a metre which means a huge amount of sediment is now covering the crops. This also means that new crops will have to be put in once the damage is repaired and the fields cleared,” he noted.

 

DISBELIEF: An irrigation farmer expresses disbelief as his bean crop is washed away by a flood caused by a cloudburst in Mariental last week. – Footage: Contributed

 

According to De Klerk, none of the farmers were able to buy insurance for their fields and crops.

 

“Insurance companies simply do not cover flood damage in our area any longer because of financial losses they suffered after the previous floods in Mariental,” said De Klerk.

 

He said despite the significant damage that some of the farmers suffered, that the water canal used in the irrigation of crops was not damaged.

 

He, however, indicated that NamWater and the farmers were just about to get the irrigation supply system up and running again when the flood from the cloudburst struck.

 

“The canal was not damaged this time so the farmers that did not suffer damage will be able to continue producing,” he explained.

 

De Klerk pointed out that the water volume in the Hardap Dam above the irrigation scheme has about 45% volume, which will allow the farmers to go at a 100% production for the year ahead.

 

In the meantime, clouds have been building over large parts of the Namibian interior and sporadic showers have been recorded in places.

 

In the north western part of the country, as much as 42 millimetres of rain was recorded on the banks of the Kunene River.

 

Further south in the area of Omaruru, strong showers caused the Omburu River to flood and flow into the Omaruru River.

 

On one farm, as much as 35 millimetres were measured while in town as much as 24 millimetres fell.

 

Farms in the area of Summerdown to the north east of Windhoek also received some showers, where up to 14 millimetres of rain was measured over the past 24 hours.

 

The State of Emergency has hit the Namibia Meteorological Service hard.

 

Two of the main weather forecasters are out of action because they were put under isolation after recently returning from South Africa.

 

A forecast that could be gleaned from various internets sources has isolated thundershowers in the forecast for the central north eastern an northern parts of Namibia for the rest of the day.

 

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