Power plant still at­tracts op­po­si­tion

The East African - - NEWS -

Tan­za­nia’s Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli’s sig­na­ture pro­ject — the $3 bil­lion Stiegler’s Gorge hy­dro power plant — is still at­tract­ing op­po­si­tion from con­ser­va­tion­ists even as the gov­ern­ment pre­pares to im­ple­ment it.

Lob­bies are warn­ing that the pro­ject may im­pact the liveli­hoods of the peo­ple and man­groves in the Ru­fiji Delta.

Wet­lands In­ter­na­tional a global not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion con­serv­ing man­groves in the Ru­fiji Delta, has ex­pressed con­cern that the pro­ject will im­pact the liveli­hood of the peo­ple al­though man­groves may not be af­fected by the de­crease of wa­ter flow down­stream. Julie Mu­longa, Wet­lands In­ter­na­tional ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor for East Africa, said that while the pro­ject can­not be stopped now, the gov­ern­ment needs to change some struc­tures so that the flow of wa­ter to the man­goves won’t be af­fected. Ms Mu­longa was ad­dress­ing concerns from stake­hold­ers who con­vened for a Na­tional Man­gove Stake­hold­ers Work­shop in Dar es Salaam last week.

The gov­ern­ment’s 2025 En­ergy Vi­sion in the Tan­za­nia Power Sys­tem Master Plan Tan­za­nia has vowed to go ahead with the Stiegler’s Gorge pro­ject which is to be con­structed within the Selous Game Re­serve — a World Her­itage Site. Ms Mu­longa said apart from a strate­gic im­pact as­sess­ment that gave the pro­ject a clean bill of health, Wet­lands will con­duct an­other study that will quan­tify the risks as­so­ci­ated with the pro­ject and mon­e­tise the loss be­fore they pro­pose al­ter­na­tive ways to un­der­take the pro­ject.

Ac­cord­ing to WWF, there are wider im­pacts be­yond the phys­i­cal in­un­da­tion of 1,200 kmsq of land.

“There will be in­creased ero­sion down­stream, there is a po­ten­tial to dry out lakes that are important for wildlife tourism, re­duced fer­til­ity of farm­land down­stream and the re­treat­ing of the Ru­fiji Delta,” WWF said.

Pic­ture: File

Pres­i­dent Magu­fuli.

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