Namibia: Flooding in South 'Biggest Since the 90s'

The flooding of rivers and overflowing of dams in the southern parts of Namibia is said to be the biggest since the 1990s, as the country's third largest surface reservoir, the Naute Dam, was filled to 117,8% capacity yesterday morning.

This is according to the National Hydrological Services (NHS), which announced That trees of the Namibia Industrial Development Agency were under water and the damage would be extensive.

"It is one of the biggest floods since the 90s," deputy hydrologist in the agriculture ministry Paulina Mufeti yesterday said.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform yesterday said by 04h00, the dam was 117,8% full with an inflow of 2 300 cubic metres.

"Release rate is currently 2 000 cubic metres and will be increased to 2 270 cubic metres to accommodate the incoming flood," the ministry said.

The Naute Dam has a storage capacity of 83,5 million cubic metres.

The Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater) on Monday opened two sluices of the dam near Keetmanshoop to release some water.

NamWater yesterday also issued warnings of possible property damage to communities, farmers and lodges, such as Gondwana, Sesriem and the Ai Ais resorts.

South Africa's Department of Water Affairs was also notified.

Information shared with the media indicated that the Gurugab River, which pours into the Naute Dam in the //Kharas region, was in flood.

Reports of damage to road infrastructure as water flowed over the bridge on the Aroab road were received.

Furthermore, the NHS said most rivers in the southern part of the country are overflowing their banks due to recent heavy rains in the Orange-Fish catchment area.

They indicated that the Dabib tributary of the Fish River, which goes downstream of the dam, had broken its banks for the second time on Monday night.

This resulted in a lot of maize fields on the western bank of the Dabib being submerged, the service said.

However, by yesterday afternoon the water flow had receded slightly.

Mufeti said the sluices had been closed by one metre since the morning, resulting in the release rate being reduced by 1 400 cubic metres.

She said by yesterday afternoon the dam was at 102,4% of its capacity with an inflow rate of 1 041,3 cubic metres and a release rate of 1 808 cubic metres.

Nonetheless, Mufeti said this does not indicate a reduced risk of flooding.

"One never knows what's going to happen as water is still collecting in the catchments. It depends on the rainfall development. So, the situation still has to be monitored," she said.

The country's rainfall over the past two weeks have not only boosted the levels of the country's three largest dams, but have also significantly surpassed dam levels recorded this time last year.

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