KEETMANSHOOP – Vice president Nangolo Mbumba said the completion of the Neckartal Dam will change the fortunes of the people of the //Kharas region and that of Namibia for good.
He made this statement when delivering his keynote addresses during the official inauguration of the dam last week Friday.
“What you are witnessing before you is a truly remarkable achievement, which is the happy result of all the hard work, perseverance and determination of all those that are closely connected to this important, national project,” Mbumba explained.
He furthermore emphasised the focus of the Namibian government under the leadership of President Hage Geingob and his predecessors as one of always striving to increase water access for human-and-animal consumption as well as agricultural purposes.
“Furthermore, our aim is to ensure that there are sufficient water reserves for industrialisation, land servicing and housing development purposes as outlined in Vision 2030, NDP (National Development Plan) 4 and 5 as well as the Harambee Prosperity Plan.”
According to the vice president, the inauguration of the dam does not lie in the display of concrete and engineering excellence, but rather in the enablement of being a catalyst for water and food security, sport, recreation, energy generation, research, development, industrialisation and job creation.
“As per the old adage saying that ‘water is life’, this precious resource is necessary for the survival of all living organisms on earth,” he said.
Mbumba went on that it is fair to say water can be regarded as one of the most important substances that drive socio-economic development and furthermore serves as an important enabler in Namibia’s developmental trajectory to attain industrialisation and food security.
He also said that Namibia, as a vast country with a small population, is continuously striving to construct and build an equal society for all its citizens. When explaining the primary purpose of the Neckartal Dam, he said that it is to impound the fresh floodwaters that normally flow in the Fish River during the rainy season.
“Such water will be used for an envisaged 5 000 hectares irrigation project where lucerne, table grapes, dates and other fruits and vegetables will be planted or grown,” he elaborated.
Referring to the secondary benefits the dam holds, Mbumba singled out tourism and water sports. These, he argued, will bring about much needed employment opportunities and furthermore positively stimulate economic growth in Keetmanshoop and other surrounding areas.
The vice president at the occasion called on stakeholders to come and invest in the various agricultural opportunities that exist in order to reap the full benefits the dam has to offer.
“At the end of the day it is our genuine belief that economic activities around the dam will contribute greatly to the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and employment creation whilst also ensuring food-and-water security,” Mbumba said.
Construction of the Neckartal Dam commenced on 11 September 2013 and it has been officially handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on 25 September 2019. During construction of the dam, 3 000 Namibians were directly employed whilst 2 500 indirect employment opportunities were created in Keetmanshoop and the surrounding areas, of which 65% of all employees hailed from the
//Kharas region. The total cost for construction has amounted to N$5.5 billion. As the largest dam in Namibia, it has a storage capacity of approximately three-times of the Hardap Dam’s volume. At full supply level, it will have a storage volume of 857 million cubic metres of water. The dam will furthermore stretch for more than 38 km upstream and has a circumference at full supply level of more than 290 km. In addition it will generate 3.5 MV of power which will then be ploughed back to the national power grid. The dam will furthermore cater for water supply to the settlements as far as the drought stricken areas of Grünau and Aus.