FOUNDING President Sam Nujoma says the Neckartal Dam project under construction near Keetmanshoop is an exciting development for the country.
"It's a good project," said a visibly excited Nujoma.
However, he was quick to suggest the construction of a desalination plant at the dam site because there would be low rainfall within the next 3-4 years in the country, according to scientists.
"Seawater is ours. There is no control over it. We can use it as far as the Americas," he stated.
"I would support you in parliament on the desalination plant project," Nujoma told member of parliament Hilma Nicanor, who was part of the delegation which had accompanied him on his dam site visit.
Guido Scalzi, project manager of Italian company Salini Impregilo, which won the N$2,8 billion tender to built the Neckartal Dam, said all civil structure works were completed when he briefed Nujoma about the progress of the dam construction.
Rehabilitation and minor touch-up works at the dam site are expected to be completed before the end of this year.
Resident consultant engineer Elvin Pesch estimated that the official handover of the dam project to the government might take place in February next year when responding to a question posed by Nujoma about the anticipated commissioning of the dam.
Salini Impregilo in a statement issued on Saturday said the dam stands to become the largest water storage dam in Namibia, three times the size of the Hardap Dam near Mariental.
Company spokesperson Gilles Castonguay said with a height of 80 metres and a crest length of 518 metres, Neckartal is a curved gravity dam.
It will have an intake tower housing pipes, valves and gates to bring water captured by the future reservoir to a turbine room with two 1,5-megawatt Francis turbines.
Once completed, the dam is expected to take two years to fill up the reservoir, based on calculations of an estimated average run-off of 500 million cubic metres of water a year during the rainy season.
According to him, the future reservoir will have a holding capacity of 880 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of 300 000 Olympic pools. Its surface area will cover nearly 40 square kilometres.
He said the dam would take water from the reservoir to the abstraction located 13 kilometres downstream, and explained the weir running 360 metres in length and 9 metres in height will then send the water another 10 kilometres along a steel pipe to the balancing dam with a reservoir with a capacity of 90 000 cubic metres.
From there, the water will be directed to a future irrigation system, covering 5 000 hectares.
"It was a great honour for us to receive on site His Excellency former President Sam Nujoma, together with a delegation of other prominent people. It was a privilege to show you the Neckartal Dam, the biggest dam in the country built by thousands of proud Namibian workers." said Scalzi.