Namibia’s Neckartal Dam is ready to collect water despite the set construction completion date being mid-July this year. The project manager of Salini Impregilo SpA Fabrizio Lazzarin, assured various government officials of a smooth sailing construction. The Italian company won the US $230m contract to build the dam near Keetmanshoop.
However, Eric Britton of Knight Piésold consulting engineers said it was difficult to pinpoint the exact completion date of the dam. Britton suggested that October is the soonest that the dam can reach completion.
He also expressed concern over the vetting of the dam’s electrical equipment. Since NamPower is yet to do the vetting, Britton hinted this may delay the full completion of the dam.
According to agriculture ministry’s director of water supply and sanitation coordination, Leonard Niipare, the bulk electricity supplier had already been provided with the dam’s electrical equipment specifications. Finance permanent secretary Ericah Shafudah said the government has paid Salini’s outstanding invoices of US $49m. There is also an agreement in place to pay the company’s invoices for work done on time.
In the past, Salini halted operations at the dam site over late or non-payment by the government. Agriculture permanent secretary Percy Misika said the cost of the dam might escalate to US $467m. He further added that government has already paid US $262m to Salini and the consulting engineer.
Made from roller-compacted concrete and standing about 80 metres high, the Neckartal Dam will harness water from the Fish River to produce hydro-electricity and create a reservoir capable of holding 857m cubic metres of water. It will also irrigate 5 000 hectares of land under development for agricultural production.
A crossing and a pump station with the intake structure, will be built 13km downstream from the dam. The water will flow through an 8.7km steel pipe with a diametre of 1,100mm to reach a reservoir that is part of the project.