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Knight Piésold Trains Hydrology Staff of Namibia's Department of Water Affairs on Reading Floods in Ephemeral Rivers

March 3, 2016, Windhoek, Namibia – Following the start of this year’s rainy season and intense rain storms, Principal Engineer Gert Cloete of Knight Piésold’s Windhoek office provided field training to the hydrology staff of the Department of Water Affairs (Water Affairs), of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. The training included post-flood surveying to determine flood peak discharge rates. Due to Namibia’s arid climate and sparse vegetation, thunderstorms cause flash floods that are rapidly attenuated in the dry river beds—all rivers in Namibia are ephemeral. In-stream flow measurements during floods are, therefore, seldom done due to the highly erratic rainfall: by the time flood news reaches the field technicians, they are likely to miss the passing flood wave, as well as its tail because distances to remote rivers are hundreds of kilometres away from their office base in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city.

Gert handed out Knight Piésold field books to all hydrology staff attending the training session. The field books came with an assignment—to make notes and/or sketches of any relevant information found at river gauging stations during routine inspections.

Water Affairs’ Deputy Director of Hydrology Paulina Mufeti said that rating tables for their flow gauging stations had not been checked or updated with actual flood peak data in the past 15 to 20 years. This very important aspect of hydrological data capturing will, therefore, receive much needed attention.

Training on in-stream flow gauging will follow in the perennial rivers flowing along the borders of Namibia: the Orange River in the south and the Kunene and Kavango Rivers in the north.