Calle ecstatic as Neckartal passes 40% mark
08 January 2021 | Infrastructure
Agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein has expressed delight that the amount of water currently in the Neckartal Dam after the recent heavy rains is about 70 million cubic metres, more than the Hardap Dam can hold at full capacity.
The Neckartal Dam is now 42.4% full, which translates to 363.710 million cubic metres of water.
To put it into perspective, at full capacity the Hardap Dam can hold 294.593 million cubic metres.
This is about 70 million cubic metres less than is currently in the Neckartal Dam.
Schlettwein told Namibian Sun that Neckartal is an important addition to the country's water infrastructure.
“As an irrigation dam it will greatly assist in realising Namibia's ambition to become food secure and ultimately food self-sufficient in important staple food.”
He pointed out that the Neckartal Dam is by far the largest dam built in Namibia.
“By comparison, it has a capacity ten times that of Swakoppoort and three times that of Hardap.”
Neckartal was built at a cost of N$5.7 billion. The construction cost included the main dam, a pump station, a secondary dam acting as silt trap before the pump station, and related infrastructure for the bulk supply of irrigation water and a power generation plant, Schlettwein explained.
“It is a massive investment designed to supply secure irrigation water for an area of 5 000 hectares.”
The project experienced serious budget overshoots, from an original tender approval of about N$3.8 billion to a final cost of N$5.7 billion.
Schlettwein said the next phase of this large project is the development of an irrigation scheme, which is anticipated to be rolled out as a public-private partnership (PPP) project.
He said the PPP unit in the finance ministry, together with the agriculture ministry, have been tasked to fast-track the project, which will have several components and phases.
“Private investment is crucial for the successful implementation,” stressed Schlettwein.
The Neckartal Dam was built in the Fish River, which is the largest inland river besides the perennial rivers on the country's borders. The Fish River joins the Orange River west of Noordoewer and any overflow of the dam will therefore end up in the Orange River and ultimately in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Before the Neckartal Dam was built all the water which is now captured in the dam would have been flowing into the ocean. The Neckartal Dam was designed to catch about three seasons' runoff and it therefore currently has some spare capacity.”
He added that the development of the dam and its irrigation scheme will create many jobs, as well as improve the livelihoods of farmers, producers and entrepreneurs who will become active in the supply and value chains as a result of this large public investment.
Hardap, Namibia's second largest dam, was 60.2% full by yesterday morning, with a 59.9 million cubic metre per second rate of inflow.
Since Monday the dam has received more than 53.4 million cubic metres of water. Presently the dam contains more than 177.22 million cubic metres.
More than 166.53 million cubic metres of water was released from the Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop from Monday to Wednesday.
Since Monday the dam has recorded an inflow of 175.3 million cubic metres and it was 101.1% full by yesterday morning. This translated to a content of 84.508 million cubic metres.