A new consulting group has been hired to re-study the planned Rusumo hydro power dam to determine if more electricity can be generated as compared to the previous capacity of 60 MW.
Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi have been in discussions for years to construct a dam on the Rusumu falls on River Akagera that partly runs along the common border. The original feasibility study determined that the dam could generate some 90MW.
However, concerns from the downstream countries along River Nile and environment questions raised by the World Bank led to a decision to reduce on the size of the dam such that it could produce only 60MW.
Now, the Nile Basin Discourse, a project of the Nile countries, has announced that the dam’s capacity will be increased to take care of electricity needs of the millions of people in the region.
Project Manager, Abdulla Kabirudin, announced at the 4th Fourth Nile Basin Discourse Forum March 09 that a new consulting group had been engaged to explore for the possibility of increasing the capacity to 80MW. The forum took place in Ngoma district, eastern province – which is where the dam will be located.
The assessment will also look at the feasible options involved in resettling some 9100 households which may be affected as result of the dam. The resettlement study is being conducted by SN-Lavalin International.
At the same forum, representatives of local communities expressed concern that the dam project was not putting into consideration their worries of losing livelihoods and complete relocation.
However, speaking at the forum, Mwikali Wambua, an official from the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP), called on local leaders to communicate to the residents that the final study on Rusumo was yet to be approved.
Nile Basin Discourse officials say with the consideration of run-of-river option, the dam would cost approx. $300 million, contrary to the $400 million that would be spent on the intermediate option.