Retrieved from: www.in2eastafrica.com
“Construction of the 660MW Karuma dam has once again courted controversy, with anonymous experts not only questioning the bidding process, but also the design of the project and the qualifications of the project manager.
According to two separate whistleblowers, these issues are likely to negatively affect the total cost , the power output, and lifespan of the dam. Once again, powerful politicians and businessmen are accused of having influenced project-related decisions – to serve their selfish interest. Information available to The Observer indicates Ugandan taxpayers are now in danger of losing billions of Shillings because of the poor quality work that is about to begin.
In one dossier, titled ‘Weaknesses in the Design of the Karuma Project’, experts question the exact location of the dam, the design of the water intake, the water losses and the operating water levels in the reservoir, among others. The dossier claims that the dam is set to be located in an area with rapids; this comes with more risks and higher costs of construction, yet more appropriate flat areas are available nearby.
Because the cofferdams (temporary water-tight enclosures that are pumped dry to expose the bottom of the river so that construction can take place) and the dam are both partially built at the same location, the highly technical dossier adds, it is impossible to build a permanent dam structure at this location. There are also fears that several aspects of the dam do not conform to international practices, like the spillway – a channel used for the controlled release of water downstream.”
Read more: The Observer
Retrieved from: www.culturalsurvival.org
“Plans by Uganda to start building the planned 700 MW Karuma hydropower project this year have been thrown into jeopardy, following disagreements with would-be financiers over the design and capacity of the plant.
Days after the East African nation abolished subsidies in the energy sector, prompting a huge rise in the cost of electricity, the potenial financiers, including the Germany Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, stated that it was not realistic that the water flow at Karuma would sustain the generation of 700 MW.
They argued that it did not make economic sense for Uganda to invest heavily in the project when it was clear the plant would only achieve full capacity during specific periods. The project has a $1.3-billion price tag.”
Read more: Engineering News
The Karuma Falls hydropower project site. Photo retrieved from: in2eastafrica.net
“CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The cost of Uganda’s new 700 megawatt Karuma hydropower project has more than doubled to $2.2 billion and the government may tap foreign bond markets to fund the plant, an industry official said on Monday.
“In September Energy Minister Hilary Onek told Reuters the cost of the plant, situated on the Nile River, was estimated at $900 million.
“We have just completed a feasibility study and it says $2.2 billion,” John Mugyenzi, managing director of Uganda Electricity Generation Company, told reporters on the sidelines of an African power conference.
“We expect construction to start late this year, early next year with first power within five years,” Mugyenzi said.
“He said the government may consider tapping international foreign bond markets to help fund construction costs.”
read more: Reuters; Africa