Concerns over East African hydroelectric project

Posted by Laura Grant on April 5, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

tanzburundi.jpgThe sustainability of a new hydroelectric dam proposed by Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania is being questioned, the Bank Information Centre reports. The proposed 60MW dam at Rusumo Falls on the Kagera River would provide 20MW of electricity to each of the three countries, Reuters reports. This electricity would boost mining production in western Tanzania and spur nickel mining in Burundi, a country whose economic development is being hindered by electricty shortages, according to Reuters.

But, the BIC reports, because it is in an area prone to drought, particularly with the onset of climate change, there are doubts about whether the project will produce the expected capacity. A Rwandan newspaper, New Times, noted that “when drought hit the Great Lakes Region in 2004, the water levels in lakes and rivers dropped. Power production reduced leaving most cities in the region in darkness”, the BIC reports.

The dam also could entail the resettlement of about 7,000 people, which raises questions about its potential effects on the livelihoods of people living in the area and their access to land, the BIC reports.

The three governments are looking to the World Bank and the African Development Bank to fund the project.

Via :: Pambuzuka

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