Hardap releases push Neckartal close to maximum capacity
Visitors to the Neckartal damwall were in awe on Sunday, 17 January when they observed the enormous inland lake up close for the first time. Late on Sunday, the dam, which has only been completed last year, was close to 93% full after more than 314 million cubic metres of water released from Hardap earlier in the week, reached Neckartal some 220 km further downstream.
Namwater announced on Friday that Neckartal dam will be open to the public on Sunday following a flood of enquiries when it became apparent that the dam may fill up completely once the Hardap water reaches its downstream big brother. When the Hardap flood arrived at Neckartal’s upper reaches, it took another day before the flow actually reached the damwall some 22 kilometres further downstream.
Although the flow has subsided somewhat from its peak of 1239 cubic metres per second last Thursday, it settled as just below 800 cubic metres per second. This inflow was still active on Monday morning, 18 January, leading Namwater to estimate that Neckartal may eventually reach 98% of its capacity. If the flow were to be sustained, which is doubtful, the dam may even reach 100% during Tuesday 19 January.
However, the sluice gates at Hardap were closed on Saturday evening, indicating that the flow in the lower Fish River will return to normal over the next few days. According to data provided by Namwater, the water released from Hardap was slightly more than the total volume of the dam itself.
Below is a video of the Tses Falls in the Fish River taken on Sunday afternoon showing that at that point, the Fish was still flowing very strongly. The falls are near Berseba some 80 km upstream from Neckartal.
Video of Tses Falls and photograph of the damwall by Anryke Steyn.