Walvis Bay’s water supply not in any danger at the moment

Kuiseb’s flow level dropped significantly in the last 48 hours. No danger to water infrastructure.

The Kuiseb River’s flow has significantly dropped in the last 48-hours, thereby eliminating any immediate threat to Walvis Bay’s water supply.
Namibia’s water utility, NamWater, confirmed yesterday that the river’s level was at 30cm deep at the Gobabeb Desert Research Station at 09:00 yesterday, from a flow depth of 1,23 meters a day earlier on Wednesday morning at 09:00.
“The Kuiseb’s flow subsided significantly since Wednesday morning. If there is no further rains in the catchment areas the flow will stop entirely”, a NamWater source confirmed.
NamWater measures the river’s flow at several locations, but the measuring point at Gobabeb is the most important one to indicate the River’s strength once it reaches the bulk water infra-structure downstream in the Rooibank and Swartbank areas.

The majority of NamWater’s bulk water supply infrastructure, supplying Walvis Bay with potable water,, is located in the Kuiseb River. When the river is in full flow, due to rains in its catchment area in the Khomas Hochland, some of the water supply infrastructure can be flooded or washed away.
When the infrastructure is damaged, NamWater cannot supply bulk water to Walvis Bay’s municipal reservoir at Mile 7. The town then suffers water shortages, often for days on end.
NamWater however, made significant investments since 2011 to mitigate the effect of the periodic flooding of the Kuiseb. That included stabilising power pylons with concrete foundations to prevent the water flow knocking out power supply to the water pumps in the river. Additionally, stretches of water pipeline have been embedded into the riverbed at a depth of 3 metres, to prevent the pipes from being washed away.
Walvis Bay has now gone for close to a decade without major water supply disruptions due to the flooding Kuiseb.
The Walvis Bay municipality also commissioned a new, 20 million liters water reservoir at Mile 7 two years ago. Together with the existing water reservoir at Mile 7, Walvis Bay has at least two days’ reserve water supply (at full capacity) at any given time.

The NamWater pipeline east of the dune belt between the Kuiseb River and Swakopmund has also been adapted in recent years to be able to carry water from the Erongo Desalination Plant to Walvis Bay.
The pipeline can however, only handle limited volumes of water, as the pipeline was originally designed for a one-way flow from the Kuiseb to Swakopmund and not vice versa. The water pipeline is also old, and there is always the risk of a catastrophic rupture if the water flow is reversed, a senior municipal official at Walvis Bay explained to Namib Times on Wednesday.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login