THE water level at the Lower Orange River, which rose from 0,39m in the beginning of this month to over 4m this week, is expected to continue rising in the coming weeks as more releases are being made from upstream dams.
This is according to the Hydrological Services of Namibia, which revealed that the water level at the Lower Orange River at Blouputs stood at 4,86m on Thursday morning. This is 4,38m more than the water level recorded at the river last week and 0,4m more than the water level recorded the previous day.
The drastic rise of the river’s water level is a result of overflows and releases made from the Vaal, Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof dams in South Africa last week. These releases were necessary, as high rainfall was received in the main headwaters of the Vaal-Orange System in South Africa.
According to the Hydrological Services of Namibia, 3 808.9m3/s of water was released from the Bloemhof Dam, 1 723.55m3/s of water has been released from the Gariep Dam and 1 650m3/s of water has been released from the Vanderkloof Dam. It was also revealed that 2 465m3/s of water has been released from the Vaal Dam, where 12 gates were opened last weekend.
On Thursday, the Vaal, Bloemhof, Gariep and Vanderkloof dams recorded a capacity of 119.96%, 113.7%, 113.4% and 110.38% respectively.
This was confirmed by South Africa’s Department of Water and Sanitation, which revealed that the outflow at Bloemhof Dam will be kept at 3 800m3/s. The department also revealed that the water level at Vaal Dam is decreasing, while the water level at the Bloemhof Dam has stopped increasing.
The significant releases from these South African dams have resulted in the rapid rise and flooding of the Lower Orange River in southern Namibia. More releases will likely be made, which is why the water level at the Lower Orange River is expected to rise even more in the coming weeks.
Considering this, the Hydrological Services of Namibia advised communities near the river to be cautious and on alert. In fact, the river’s rapid rise has already resulted in the closure of the District Road 212 (DR212) between Aussenkehr and Rosh-Pinah in the //Kharas Region. Road users are therefore advised to refrain from using the DR212 Road.