THE floodgates of the Hardap Dam have been opened after the water level increased to nearly 72% since Monday evening.
According to the chairperson of the Hardap Farmers’ Union, Dawie de Klerk, the floodgates were opened at about 10:20 to release 200 cubic metres per second in the interim.
“The water level in the dam stood at 71.5% when the first floodgate was opened and since then, all of them have been opened to released 50 cubic metres per second each. The task team is monitoring the situation closely to see what the effect of the released water will be on the reed beds lower down the river near Mariental,” he said.
According to De Klerk, the released water is supposed to flatten the abundance of reeds growing in the riverbed in preparation for a larger amount of water that could start flowing through the floodgates if the situation dictates.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and obviously if the reeds cause the river to break its banks, we will have to make another plan. At the moment everything seems to be going well,” he said.
He indicated that the floodgates will be opened to release about 500 cubic metres per second if the water level in the dam rises any higher.
De Klerk said that the task team, consisting of representatives from the farmers’ union, officials from NamWater, and other stakeholders have decided to keep the water level in the dam as close as possible to 70% to avoid having to open the floodgates fully and possibly causing a flood that would inundate Mariental further down the river.