By Varstine Nasuuna
The 600MW Karuma Hydropower Dam under construction on the River Nile in Kiryandongo District in northwestern Uganda is 95% ready and the remaining work is progressing well.
The dam, which is being constructed under the ground, is constructed by Sinohydro Corporation Ltd from China and is expected to cost US$1.7bn, financed by the government of Uganda (15%) and the soft loan from China Export and Import Bank (85%).
Talking about the cracks noticed way back in 2016, the project deputy manager Li Ji put the blame on climate change effects and temperature in the atmosphere.
“The issue has since been addressed and everything is in tip-top shape on the spill way and the entire project,” said Ji. “We work under the observation of staff from Uganda electricity Generation Company,” (UEGC) he added.
“Consequently, 2,000 of the 6,000 Uganda workers have been laid off with their benefits,” said Ji adding that “Soon the scene at Karuma bridge will be different from what passersby are used to as 90 percent of the water will switch paths to power the six turbines due to generate electricity,”
A tour of the site was a revelation of rocks being piled to create barriers and a spillway with 16 gates which can be opened to control the water flow.
Neighboring areas also transforming as poultry farmers, cereals suppliers and fabrics dealers are getting a ready market.
Tourists some of who are relatives of more than 700 workers of the dam from china are seen destined to Murchison Falls National Park.
Uganda should expect some of the annual 74 million Chinese travelers, who go to different parts of the world, given the variety of attractions to interest visitors available.
Uganda tourism board CEO Lilly Ajarova agrees that it is through marketing Uganda, that numbers of tourists from Uganda will shoot up.
All we need is a better infrastructure to contain huge numbers as some travel in bulk,” said Ajarova. Besides mammals and geographic bodies, Uganda has cultural and faith- based products that can appeal to the market.
Residential buildings for the staff of the dam are giving Karuma trading center a new crop of residents with professionals replacing the peasant farmers and petty trader. The fishing community in the neighborhood has been warned to stay away from the waters of risk danger.
The construction works were launched on August 12th 2013 by President Yoweri .K. Museveni and on 16th December, 2013 the construction Commenced.