The two highest falls on the Orange River, both in some of the last remaining pristine wilderness areas are both threatened by the construction of privately owned power stations to supply electricity to Namibia – this will destroy ecotourism in the area and greatly impact the local communities as well as permanently damage two precious pieces of our shared natural heritage.
For the Ritchie Falls project, construction will include blasting away solid rock with dynamite, building long concrete weirs across the river bed, blocking off the flow of water from the Orange Gorge, building concrete canals and installing power turbines, a power station, power lines and a road. There is no benefit for local communities as workers will be sourced from Namibia and the power generated will be sold to Namibia. Ecotourism in the area will be severely affected and the knock-on effect will be significant in this small, very poor community. An awesome piece of wilderness will be gone forever.
The iconic Augrabies Falls will have water diverted from the main falls to generate power through turbines – the falls will be left a trickle, except during flood events. Augrabies Falls is in a National Park and yet the developer has only conducted public participation locally and not nationally to try and sneak this project through.
Hydro power does not make sense for Namibia – why are they not looking at solar? They are one of the least populated and most sunny places in the world.
For more info and to sign the petition : Aurecon: Diane Erasmus for the Ritchie Falls (Orange Falls) project: Diane.Erasmus@aurecongroup.com. and Nelis Bezuidenhout for the Augrabies Falls project: Nelis.Bezuidenhout@aurecongroup.com.
Water is too precious to be compromised. It’s not something we can ‘change back’ if it doesn’t work or if the consequences are too severe. Please conserve water, save water.