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Historic flood reaches Naute Dam

Historic flood reaches Naute Dam

Niël Terblanché

 

FANTASTIC masses of water that has turned the Löwen and Guruchab rivers into raging torrents and for the first time in history the outflow through all four of the floodgates of the dam constantly equalled the inflow.

 

When the floodgates were opened on Monday the Naute Dam was 97% full. The optimal capacity of the dam is 99%.

 

By Tuesday morning floodwater filled the dam to 119% and the four floodgates were opened to their full capacity to ensure that the outflow is balanced with the inflow to protect the integrity of the dam wall.

 

Officials from NamWater reported that the water jetting out below the dam wall was measured at more or less 2 000 cubic metres per second.

 

 

In context, it is the same amount of water that turns the Ruacana Waterfalls in northern Namibia into a spectacular mass of white water.

 

The water flowing below the dam wall of the Naute Dam flows past Ai Ais and into the Fish River Canyon, the world’s second biggest canyon, which will create another spectacular sight.

 

The Löwen and Guruchab rivers both broke their banks and at places the floodwater flowed as deep as three metres.

 

The floodwater in the Guruchab River between Keetmanshoop and Grünau flowed over the main road. Broken branches and trees were stuck in the railings of the bridge over the river when the level of the floodwater started to recede.

 

Good rains in the catchment areas of the rivers that flow into the Hardap and Neckertal dams caused the water level to rise significantly over the past 24 hours.

 

The water volume in the Neckerthal Dam rose from 28.5% to 34.57% and the inflow from the Fish River was measured at roughly 280 cubic metres per second.

 

For the first time in history the Hardap Dam received significant inflow during December. The water volume in the dam since 21 December 2020 rose with more than 27 percent.

 

Heavy downpours in the catchment area of the dam caused the water level in the dam to increase with 11.8 percent over night.

 

According to Dawie de Klerk, the chairman of the Hardap Farmers’ Union the water level in the dam was measured at 53.8% on Tuesday morning. He added that ware was flowing into the dam at a rate of about 577 cubic metres per second.

 

“The water level is set to rise even further because the Fish River at Kub was still flowing quite strongly this morning,” he said.

 

De Klerk said that the inflow into the Hardap Dam this early in the season is wonderful news for the irrigation farmers on the Hardap Scheme. Ten months ago irrigation farmers were facing ruin because the water level in the Hardap Dam dropped below ten percent.

 

He mentioned that another tropical storm is currently moving towards Mozambique and that more good rains can be expected over large parts of Namibia for at least the next two weeks.

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