RESIDENTS of Mariental, especially those living to the west of the railway that runs through the town, have been requested to register their names and numbers with the Mariental Municipality.
On Friday afternoon NamWater issued a preliminary warning to all communities living downstream of the Hardap Dam and along the Fish River, residents of Mariental, and farmers on the irrigation scheme to be on high alert and to take all possible precautionary measures in case flooding does occur.
The Disaster Risk Management Committee and the Municipality of Mariental requested people not on their database to register to ensure that all residents receive regular and timely updates about the water level in the Fish River and the possible flood danger.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Mariental Municipality, Paul Nghiwilepo said the Disaster Risk Management Committee is currently busy with a dissemination drive to inform communities that are at risk, of the evacuation plan.
“We have identified certain spots in town where people will be able to gather safely in case floodwater does inundate the streets and homes. These safe zones will be able to accommodate all affected residents and some of their belongings if the need arises,” he said.
Nghiwilepo indicated that these vital updates will be sent out on SMS’s and social media platforms.
The water level in the river has risen significantly after NamWater officials at the Hardap Dam started to release a larger volume of water to keep the water level behind the wall at a manageable level.
On Thursday afternoon heavy rain showers in the catchment areas of two smaller rivers that feed into the Fish River below the dam wall added to the volume of water that flows past Mariental.
Water from the dam is currently flowing at a rate of 730 cubic metres per second.
If the water level behind the dam wall increases to above 95% the floodgates will be opened to release 1 000 cubic metres or more per second.
In the meantime, some fields of irrigation farmers on the Hardap agricultural scheme have already been inundated by an overflowing Fish River. Although the damage is currently minimal more is likely to occur if the water level in the river rises.