Drinking water shortage looms following flood surge

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 24 February 2010

Close to 10 000 residents at Aussenkehr in southern Namibia face a severe shortage of drinking water after floodwater from South Africa raised the level of the Orange River.

Orange River. Photo by 'coda' under Creative Commons 2.0

The river level started rising after floodwater discharged from the upstream Vaal and Bloemhof dams reached Noordoewer on Friday.

The General Manager of Namibia Grape Company, Gideon Nuunyango, yesterday told The Namibian that the flood surge damaged water pumps in the river and the area is now dependent on a reservoir. “If the situation persist for weeks, then we foresee a water crisis,” said Nuunyango. He said the broken water pumps mean that crops next to the river can’t be irrigated.

The regional councillor for the Karasburg Constituency, Paulus Efraim, said his office had informed the Local Government Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office of the threatening water crisis. Plans are to transport water containers to the tiny settlement.

NamWater official Felix Kennedy said the river level yesterday stood at seven metres and had been rising by three centimetres a day since the discharge from dams in South Africa.

Kennedy said floodwater had started overflowing onto irrigation schemes along the Orange River.

Source: The Namibian

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