Hardap Irrigation Scheme faces shutdown as Hardap Dam water level falls

Niël Terblanché

A looming water crisis threatens to devastate the Hardap Irrigation Scheme and surrounding communities as NamWater announces plans to discontinue water releases for irrigation if the dire situation persists.

With the Hardap Dam’s water level plummeting to a critically low 12.8 percent due to poor rainfall in the catchment area, urgent measures are underway to address the impending crisis.

Franklin Kavita, NamWater’s manager for the southern business unit, stressed that water for human consumption will take precedence over the needs of irrigation farmers.

Despite provisions made to sustain potable water supplies until December amid dwindling inflows, Kavita warned that irrigation water may be halted should conditions worsen.

The announcement has sent shockwaves through the agricultural community, with farmers facing the prospect of crop failure and economic hardship.

Dawie De Klerk, Chairperson of the Hardap Farmers Association, voiced the growing concerns, highlighting the ripple effects of a potential irrigation shutdown on local employment and the economy.

The situation is exacerbated by a prolonged drought in the region, with the irrigation scheme’s future hanging in the balance.

Sustainable water use is only guaranteed until early April, raising fears of food insecurity and economic instability.

The government-imposed moratorium limiting the dam’s storage capacity further complicates matters, with De Klerk advocating for its reassessment to alleviate the crisis.

Despite assurances regarding potable water supplies for Mariental residents, the ongoing drought poses multifaceted challenges, including impacts on food security and livelihoods.

Paul Nghiwilepo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mariental Municipality, earlier in the year echoed concerns over the prioritization of residential needs, emphasizing the gravity of the situation on food security within the region.

As hopes for rainfall in the coming months dwindle, communities reliant on the Hardap Dam will have to deal with the harsh reality of the continuing drought.

The plight of farmers of the Hardap Irrigation Scheme serves as a sobering reminder of the urgent need for adaptive water management strategies to secure both agricultural and potable water supplies amidst increasing drought conditions.

Related Posts