KEETMANSHOOP – Founding President Sam Nujoma says plans should be made to construct a desalination plant that will get water from the sea to fill up the Neckartal Dam near Keetmanshoop.
The Neckartal Dam has been under construction for about five years now and it is expected to be completed by the end of this year. With a height of 80 metres, the dam is expected to have a holding capacity of 880 million cubic metres of water, which is the equivalent of 300,000 Olympic swimming pools, while its surface area will cover nearly 40 square kilometres.
While estimations are that it will take about 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, this all depends on the rainfall received and with droughts so prevalent in the south, this was Nujoma’s main concern when he visited the multi-billion-dollar dam last Friday.
Nujoma said while the dam is a good project, he is concerned that the lack of rainfall in the country will mean that the dam will not be filled up and thus he suggested that a desalination plant be set up to get water from the nearest sea point, which is Lüderitz in this case which is about 300 kilometres away, to feed the dam with water for the planned 5000-hectare irrigation scheme.
He said scientists have predicted there will be no rainfall in Namibia in the next three or four years and therefore in order to mitigate the effects of lack of rain, plans should be made to construct a desalination plant so that seawater can be desalinated and stored in the dam.
“It is a good project, but my worry is that if there is no rain we will have no water, so we need to plan for the future and link it up with a desalination plant to desalinate seawater and make this desert green,” he said.
Project manager Guido Scalzi oversaw a presentation of the dam to the founding father and his delegation, which included //Kharas governor Lucia Basson and Veteran Affairs Deputy Minister Hilma Nikanor, and he indicated that filling up the dam depends entirely on the rainwater harvested.