No fears of flooding at Mariental this year: Van Neel

08 Jan 2014 15:10pm
MARIENTAL, 08 JAN (NAMPA) – The chairperson of the Hardap Regional Council, Jeremia van Neel is calling on Mariental residents to remain calm as the chances of flooding in the area this year are very little.
“Though people should be prepared in case it occurs, there is no reason to fear floods this year,” Van Neel, who is also the constituency councillor for Gibeon, said in an interview with Nampa on Wednesday.
Speaking about the chances for flooding this year, he said there is nothing to fear as the current water level in the Hardap Dam is very low, and the Fish River near the town has also been excavated and cleared. The clearing and deepening of the riverbed will allow water to flow unhindered in the river, thereby avoiding flooding at the town.
The Hardap Dam’s water level now stands at 28,5 per cent compared to 58,4 per cent in November 2012.
Work on the one-kilometre Fish River excavation project, which was aimed at reducing the risk of flooding at Mariental, started in June last year and is nearing completion.
Government is funding the excavation project to the tune of N.dollars 12 million.
Van Neel stated that the disaster risk management warehouse, where food, blankets and other items will be kept for possible flood victims, will be completed at Mariental in three months.
He said more than ever this year the council and municipality stand ready in case floods occur.
An estimated 200 people living at informal settlements in Mariental - mostly pensioners, farm labourers and children - were affected by the last floods in 2011.
The first flooding at Mariental was experienced at the beginning of February 2006 when the Fish River overflowed after the Hardap Dam’s sluices were opened.
Hardap Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa on her part told Nampa Wednesday that she also does not expected floods to occur this year.
She added that she is however also concerned about the low water level in the Hardap Dam this year, which according to her is starting to cause panic at the town as residents fear the water level will drop to such an extent that the town’s water supply will be affected.
“We are worried that we will not have water for our Green Scheme and our houses,” the governor said.
She stated that after the 2006 flood, it was agreed that the dam’s water level be limited at 70 per cent to avoid flooding, but that needs to change since the river has been cleared.
“When the rain comes we will suggest that the volume be increased to 85 per cent to sustain us should there be no good rains in 2015. We can increase the water level with careful monitoring so that we have enough water for the town and gardens,” Hanse-Himarwa said.