Tuesday, July 14, 2015
RUBADA to detach from hydro power development project activities
THE Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) is underway to amend the law which would enable the organization from engaging in the development planning of power generation within which the Stiegler's Gorge Multi-Purpose Dam is located. The Guardian has been informed. Speaking in an exclusive interview on Wednesday this week in Dar es Salaam RUBADA’s Acting Director General Dr. Deogratias Lwezaura said that the law to be amended would give them power to concentrate more on agricultural activities. The primary functions of the authority for which it was established by an Act of Parliament in 1975 are the generation of electricity by hydro works, and the undertaking of flood control measures along Rufiji river basin. Other activities the authority is engaged with is the promotion and regulation of activities in the sectors of industry, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and transport. In agriculture the authority did a pre-feasibility study in the lower Rufiji that recommended wetland rice as the main crop for both large scale and small scale irrigation. The authority also has two irrigation projects in the Rufiji Basin in the Kilombero Valley, and in the Lower Rufiji Valley. These are being executed in collaboration with the Governments of Korea and Iran respectively. He said his authority has come to such a decision after realizing that the activities of the Stiegler’s Gorge need research and planning which are very complex and time taken, a factor that are not able to execute other assigned activities which are compelled to be done by the organization. In view of this, the organization has seen the need to hand over the project to stakeholders such as the Ministry of energy and Natuional Environmental Managament Council (NEMC) to look at the feasibility study for the project in general if the law would be amended by Parliament in November this year. Speaking about the Stiegler’s Hydro electricity project, he noted that a team of experts from a Brazilian based firm known as Odebrecht International Company who signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RUBADA in 2012 have completed the initial scoping of the environmental and social impact assessment study about the project. He said RUBADA had commissioned the firm to do the work to overlook at the scope of the project and its impact to the development of the nation and the study reports have been handed over to UNESCO office in the country for opinion. He further noted that, the second study work is due to take place in September this year that would involve the feasibility study of the project in general and after that once it the investments would follow in some years to come depending on the availability of fund. Historically, RUBADA was established to promote and regulate development in the Rufiji Basin including the generation and Hydro power supply of electricity with estimated 2,100MW. The Rufiji river basin is the largest river basin in the country covering an area of about 177,000 square kilometres. It extends some 700 km from Mbeya in the west to the Indian Ocean with land elevation ranging from 0 to 3000m above sea level.