River could reach the sea for the first time in six years

For the first time in six years the Swakop River has inched close to the Atlantic Ocean, passing Goanikontes on Saturday. By Sunday the water, which initially was only a small trickle, had filled most of the sand mining pits at the smallholdings outside of town. By yesterday afternoon the river had not reached the road crossing at the C28 yet and the water level had subsided short of its goal.

News of the river coming down on Saturday spread like wildfire through-out the country, especially on social media platforms, prompting a lot of coastal residents to take a look at the water themselves. “There was a lot of excitement when we saw the first bit of water at Goanikontes,” said Holger Ismer from Goanikontes Osais to namib times. The first trickle passed the road (D1991) at about 9:30 on Saturday morning. During the night though a new flood arrived. The level of the river rose substantially and was about one metre deep.
On Sunday morning hundreds of coastal residents drove to the old sand mining pits close to the smallholdings and watched the water rushing past in awe. There were happy faces all ’round as both old and young were playing in the brown water mass. The flow of the river decreased during Sunday afternoon and by yesterday the level of the river had dropped substantially. It is about a dozen kilometres away from the ocean.
Emergency and rescue services were on stand-by over the weekend. During the flood of 2011 Swakopmund resident Berdine Potgieter tragically drowned in the river. Many residents were not afraid though and tested their off-road vehicle in the sandpits, driving closer to the water. Some drivers were surprised by the oncoming water and got stuck in the mud and had to be towed out.
The water in the Swakop River stemmed almost entirely from the Khan River. The Khan flows into the Swakop a few kilometres east of Goanikontes. Swakopmund resident Xenia Ivanoff-Erb experienced the immense flood in the Khan while they were on their way back to Swakopmund over the weekend as they were crossing the bridge over the Khan coming from Valencia. “It was incredible. While we were standing there a flood came down and within a minute the water was flowing over the bridge. We had to reverse off the bridge as the current was getting too strong to pass.” she said.
The last time the Swakop River reached the ocean was during the exceptionally good raining season 2010/2011. The first trickle reached the ocean on the afternoon of 19 March 2011.

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