Government has been counseled to first address the water management crisis in Usangu Basin Mbeya region before embarking on other hydro-power projects which also depend on the source.
The advice came from energy stakeholder, Daudi Kasyanjo who was speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday explaining that the move would help get the country out of the long standing energy crisis.
He citied the Stigler Gorge project as good for the development of our nation, but advised the government to, “… first solve the poor water management in the basin which has been identified as one of the factors causing power shortages in the country.”
Nonetheless that, the government has already allocated funds for the Stigler gorge project in the next financial year to facilitate its implementation, which is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015. The project has been referred to by other stake holders as, ‘expected to bring an end to the prevailing power deficit in the country.’
“Upon its completion, the project is expected to generate 2,100MW, far beyond current generation capacity of about 650MW among hydro-power plants in the country,” stated the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, David Jairo, elaborating that, apart from power generation, the project will also include the creation of infrastructure for irrigation schemes, eco-tourism, water supply for domestic and industrial use as well as fishing.
Kasyanjo, has expressed his disapproval complaining that, for almost three years, his company and others (not specified) have been urging the government to take stern measures against irresponsible water management but according to him, nothing affirmative has been done and as a result there is unnecessary power shedding.
Rhetorically he added, "…we are told that the water level in Mtera continues to decline and the long season rains are coming to an end, so what should we expect in a few months leterif necessary measures are not taken promptly?”
The dwindling water reserves were the front page headlines recently he spoke ( The Guardian) and follow up investigations revealed the cause to be water not flowing back into the Great Ruaha River and down to Mtera Dam this being a result of unregulated agricultural expansion and poor water management been practiced upstream.
The Great Ruaha draws its waters from a number of tributaries emanating from the Southern highlands and the country’s western Miomboland. .
“There must be a large disparity between incomes generated from uncontrolled agriculture in Usangu Basin compared to income lost by businesses countrywide because of the lack of power,” The stakeholder said, calling for a trade-off that ensures stable power supply.
The communication manager of Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) Badra Masoud, was recently quoted as saying, “…despite the declining water volume at Mtera Dam there would be no power rationing because the firm also depends on power generated from other sources like natural gas and oil.”
She added that 100MW will be added to the national grid by end of this month from ‘Jacobson’, an investor with power plants at Ubungo in Dar es Salaam. Elaborating further, she said that despite the decreasing water levels at Mtera Dam the power supply situation is stable and insisted that there would be no rationing as some people expects.
“We don’t expect power rationing, we have enough electricity produced from non-hydro energy sources,” Badra stressed.