Neckartal Dam construction to start in April 2013

The much-anticipated multi-million Neckartal Dam Project has now become a reality, after the Ministerof Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa on Thursday announced to the Karasberg community that the project will commence soon.

Mutorwa met the community members in Keetmashoop to brief them on the much-talked about Neckartal Dam slated to be constructed about 45 kilometers from Keetmashoop.

The project, which was conceptualise more than a century ago, has now become a realty, 23 years after Namibia’s attainment of political freedom and genuine independence, Mutorwa said during the meeting with community members at Keetmanshoop town.

He said the fundamental objective of the project have not essentially changed from what was conceptualized around 1911, that is of systematically harnessing of the Fish River alone to facilitate the irrigation of vast stretches of arable land, saying that the project will never go backward but forward.

He said the water will also be utilized to propel other socio-economic development in pursuit of the noble Vision 2030 objectives.

He quoted the book written before independence, titled ‘Namibian water resources and their management, as saying ‘The possibility of efficiently cultivating this arid country’s fertile soil, lies in maximizing the use of its rivers’ seasonal flood water, which currently flow into the ocean, unobstructed and unused.’

The Great Fish River and its atributaries cover an immense area especially favorable for the construction of the large dams, he said.

Systematic harnessing of this river alone, will facilitate the irrigation of vast stretches of arable land, although the river is dry for the greater part of the year, it carries significant volumes of water during the rainy seasons, he added.

“The potential and practical necessity to construct the Neckartal dam, in the Fish River, was first identified during the German Colonial era, before the outbreak of the Forst World War between 1914 1918,” he indicated. He then took the opportunity to have words with the contractor who won the tender saying, the government’s crystal, clear and direct message is that there is nothing much to be added to the content of Tender Board of Namibia.

The Tender Board stated earlier that 23 tenders participated and out of them three tenderers were shortlisted after having met all the pre-qualification requirements.

The Tender Board has awarded that tender for the construction of Neckartal Dam and Phase one Bulk Water Supply in the Karas region to the Italian company Salini company, for an amount of N.dollars 2,8 billion.

“This is a lot of money from the taxpayers coffer, for an important expensive national project,” he said.

He urged the contractor that the government shall not compromise on demanding quality and value for money.

He also appealed to political, traditional, community leaders and government officials, business leaders, farmers, workers, citizens and residents in Namibia to be patriotic and understand and maximize their involvement, when such need is required and give uncompromising genuinely support to the project.

“Such efforts will ensure the project’s successful completion as per contract agreements,” he requested.

The project is expected to employ 1000 people, especially from the Karas region.

The main focus for the construction of the Neckartal dam is to allow irrigation farming.

The Naute Dam, also near Keetmanshoop, has maintained an average water level of 70 to 100 per cent over the past six years.

But, the dam is also used for irrigation schemes in that part of the country, but mostly provides water to Keetmanshoop residents and farmers in the surrounding areas.

The dam holds 85 million cubic metres of water at full capacity and it is estimated that the town and local farmers use about two million cubic metres of water every year.

Earlier reports indicate that the Naute Dam has a very small capacity to supply water to a planned irrigation scheme of 5 000 hectares, bringing the construction of the Neckartal Dam into play.

The new dam is expected to be three times the size of the Hardap Dam, located near Mariental.

Also, a resettlement survey done earlier found that people living upstream of the future dam wall might have to be relocated.

But, Mutorwa indicated that affected residents will be compensated accordingly.

(edited)KEETMANSHOOP; The construction of the multi-million Neckartal Dam project will commence soon, Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry John Mutorwa announced on Thursday.

“The project, which was conceptualise more than a century ago, has now become a reality, 23 years after Namibia’s attainment of political freedom and genuine independence,” said Mutorwa during a meeting with community members here.

Mutorwa set up the meeting to brief the Keetmanshoop community on the much-talked about Neckartal Dam, billed to be constructed about 45 kilometers from Keetmanshoop.

He said the fundamental objective of the project has not changed from what was conceptualised around 1911 - that is of systematically harnessing water from the Fish River to facilitate the irrigation of vast stretches of arable land - saying the project will never go backward but forward.

Mutorwa said the water will also be utilised to propel other socio-economic development in pursuit of the noble Vision 2030 objectives.

He quoted a book written before Namibia’s independence titled 'Namibian water resources and their management' as saying “The possibility of efficiently cultivating this arid country’s fertile soil lies in maximizing the use of its rivers’ seasonal flood water, which currently flow into the ocean, unobstructed and unused.”

The Fish River and its tributaries cover an immense area especially favourable for the construction of large dams.

“Systematic harnessing of this river alone will facilitate the irrigation of vast stretches of arable land, and although the (Fish) river is dry for the greater part of the year, it carries significant volumes of water during the rainy season,” explained Mutorwa.

He said the potential and practical necessity to construct the Neckartal Dam in the Fish River was first identified during the German colonial era, before the outbreak of the First World War between 1914 to 1918.

The Tender Board awarded the tender for the construction of the dam and Phase One Bulk Water Supply in the Karas Region to Italian company, Salini, for an amount of N.dollars 2,8 billion.

“This is a lot of money from the taxpayers’ coffers for an important expensive national project,” said Mutorwa.

He then warned the contractor that the Namibian government shall not compromise on demanding quality and value for money.

The Minister also appealed to political, traditional, community leaders and Government officials, business leaders, farmers, workers, citizens and residents in Namibia to be patriotic and understand and maximize their involvement, when such need is required and give uncompromising and genuine support to the project.

“Such efforts will ensure the project’s successful completion as per contract agreements,” he said.

The main focus for the construction of the Neckartal Dam is to allow irrigation farming. It is expected to employ 1 000 people, especially from the Karas Region.

The Naute Dam, also near Keetmanshoop, has maintained an average water level of 70 to 100 per cent of water over the past six years.

That dam is also used for irrigation schemes in that part of the country, but mostly provides water to Keetmanshoop residents and farmers in the surrounding areas.

The Naute Dam holds 85 million cubic metres of water at full capacity, and it is estimated that the town and local farmers use about two million cubic metres of water every year.

Earlier reports indicate that the Naute Dam has a very small capacity to supply water to a planned irrigation scheme of 5 000 hectares, bringing the construction of the Neckartal Dam into play.

The new dam is expected to be three times the size of the Hardap Dam, located near Mariental.

Also, a resettlement survey done earlier found that people living upstream of the future dam wall might have to be relocated.

But, Mutorwa indicated that affected residents will be compensated accordingly.