THE ORANGE RIVER at the Harry Oppenheimer Bridge between Oranjemund and Alexander Bay in South Africa have been flowing more than a kilometre wide for the second consecutive day.
At the confluence of the Fish and Orange River, the rising water level has started push upstream in the big tributary river partly covering the low water bridge between Rosh Pinah and Aussenkehr.
On Wednesday morning the bridge disappeared under the water which made the road between the small southern towns impassable.
In South Africa masses of water have been cascading over the Augrabies Waterfall and over the spillways of the Gariep and Van Der Kloof dams. Both dams are filled to capacity since early January.
The water level in the lower Orange River is still rising and people living along its bank have been warned to be prepared for possible flooding.
The rising water level is attributed to heavy rains in the Orange and Senque basins as well as that of the Vaal River in the Republic of South Africa over the past month. All the dams in the river have been filled to capacity and masses of water have been spilling into the lower Orange River as a result.
According to the Flood Bulletin issued by the Namibia Hydrological Services, the flow in the Orange river will remain high.
The water level in the river at Blouputs (DWS-South Africa) stood at 3.36 metres on Tuesday while the level at Sendelingsdrift went above the four-metre mark.
At the same time, the water level in the Zambezi River at Katima Mulilo has also been rising steadily and at 3.16m it is currently twice as deep as it was during the same period last year.
As a result, the floodplains in the far eastern part of the Zambezi Region will be inundated very early this year.
“With heavy rains in the forecast in the months ahead, people in the floodplains will have to be alert to the fact that early floods are likely and that they will have to prepare accordingly.”
The Okavango River level at Rundu increased slightly to 4.15m on Tuesday.
According to the flood bulletin, contingency planning for flood mitigation and recovery must be updated, upgraded and activated for all flood-prone regions in anticipation of the heavy rainfall forecasted for the remainder of the rainy season.