Central area dry by November
The full wrath of the water crisis is expected to announce itself by November this year on Windhoek when the Namibia Water Corporation finally ceases to supply the city with water. Supplies from the Swakoppoort and Omatako dams are expected to cease by mid July while supplies from von Bach cease by November.
This is according to Namwater engineer, Willem Venter who this week spoke openly about the water crisis at a discussion hosted by the Namibia Trade Forum. According to Venter, the Central Areas consisting of Windhoek, Okahandja and the surrounding areas are expected to run out of water by November 2016, in the absence of significant inflows into the three dams supplying the central area.
Said Venter, “the Swakoppoort dam will be isolated from the central area water supply and will only supply water to the Navachab mine and the town of Karibib. The Omatako and Swakoppoort water supply ends mid July 2016.”
According to Venter, the von Bach dam was currently below 20% while only 12.4% of the total is useable. The need to cut the supply of water from the Swakoppoort dam, he emphasised, was to sustain the quality of the water contained in the dam.
The City of Windhoek’s mitigation scenario will see the supply mix change, with more water expected to be sourced from an aquifer, which is expected to make up 19%, re-useable potable and non-potable water will contribute18% and 5% respectively while city engineers will be hard at work making sure the Water Demand Management system reduces water needs by a further 26%.
Venter pointed out that while efforts are being made to source water from the North Eastern areas, notably Kombat and Berg Aukas, the extent of water losses and off-takers at Okakarara and Otjiwarongo left little for the central area. “We can expect to lose between 10% and 20% of the water from the north.”
It also appears that other pockets of the country will start to feel the effects of the drought. Frighteningly, in the absence of good rains and subsequent inflow into the Hardap dam, irrigation activities at Mariental may also be severely affected next year, with Venter warning that irrigation of crops may eventually have to be stopped. “Hardap does not have enough water to outlast the next two rainy seasons. Irrigation may have to stop.”