KUISEB FLOW NO THREAT
Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 10:00
News that the water in the Kuiseb River is flowing as high as the underside of the bridge crossing it on the C14, the road between Walvis Bay and Solitaire, caused quite a stir amongst Namibians from all walks of life.
The initial strong flow reported by
Chief Kooitjie of the Topnaar people was caused by the Gaub River, a tributary to Kuiseb. The initial reports from the chief of the Topnaar people said that the bridge is in jeopardy and that travellers should be cautious when using the C14.
Along with the good news of the river flowing, came fears that the water flowing down the dry river bed would damage water supply infrastructure.
Exactly five years ago the river damaged pipelines and power supply to borehole installations in the river at the Swartbank area.
The damage caused diminished water supply to the harbour town and at the time residents were cautioned to use water sparingly, while Namwater and members of the Walvis Bay municipality worked around the clock to repair the damage.
Andrè Burger, an engineer at the Walvis Bay municipality, said the flow in the river has diminished to such an extent that it has not reached the Swartbank area.
“The current flow of the river is not expected to cause any damage. Besides that, during 2011 when the river damaged infrastructure, Namwater repaired and strengthened the pipelines and borehole infrastructure with concrete to ensure that water supply will not be interrupted again.”
Burger was of the opinion that more rain over the river’s catchment area in the Khomas Hochland is required to cause a sustained and stronger flow in the Kuiseb for it to reach the water supply installations.
The Kuiseb River has been flowing steadily since Saturday and reached as far as the Gobabeb Research station on the banks of the river. The Swartbank area is still 25 kilometres west of the scientific installation.