Construction at the Neckartal Dam in Namibia is on course and expected to be completed within the scheduled time frame of 36 months, according to Fabrizio Lazzarin Salini SpA project manager.

Speaking to the Namibian Daily Newspaper Lazzarin said the setting up of a roller-compacted concrete (RCC) plant is expected to be completed by March next year.

He added that excavation for the construction of the right and left flank dam walls are well on track.

Located in the Karas region along the Fish River in the south of the country, the project, which is valued at N$2.4 billion Namibian Dollars (approximately R3 billion) is the first phase of the Neckartal Irrigation Scheme.

Standing around 80 metres high, the Neckartal dam will harness water from the Fish River to produce energy and to create a reservoir capable of holding 857 million cubic metres of water, which will be used to irrigate 5 000 hectares of land for the agricultural development of the area.

A crossing and a pumping station, along with the relevant intake structure, will be built 13 km downstream from the dam. The water will flow through an 8.7 km steel pipe with a diameter of 1 100 mm to reach a reservoir that is also part of the project

Neckartal Dam controversy

The construction of the dam has been shrouded in controversy from the start when it took the Namibian government more than two years to allocate the multi-billion project to the Italian company after it landed before the Tender Board three times and once in the Court.

The outcome was an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission following allegations of corruption and bribery among members of the Tender Board.

This was followed by investigations into working conditions onsite when allegations of discrimination, violation of human rights, victimisation, racism, unfair dismissals and unfair labour practices were raised.