Tanzania’s National Environmental Management Council (Nemc) has approved the construction of the planned 2,100-MW hydroelectric project at Stiegler's Gorge, assuring that it will have no adverse impact on the local ecology.
The director general of the council, Dr. Samuel Gwamaka, said that implementation of the Rufiji hydroelectric power project will comply with all the relevant environmental protection measures at all levels, The Citizen reported.
“We are determined to make sure that all water sources in Morogoro, Iringa, Dodoma, Njombe, Mbeya and Ruvuma regions are well protected and sustained,” Dr. Gwamaka said.
He further highlighted that the Stigler's Gorge hydroelectric project is vital in building a strong industrial economy, hence the need to develop it without affecting all sources of the Rufiji River.
“Nemc will make sure that all projects that have a connection with water sources are environmentally friendly. We make sure that water sources are protected and sustained to benefit current and future generations,” he said.
Gwamaka also assured that the council will continue to uphold all laws and regulations dealing with environmental protection.
He said that the move would act as a way of enabling the country to achieve Vision 2025 that aims to transform Tanzania into a middle income semi-industrialized economy.
“As the National Environmental Management Council, we commend various measures being taken by President John Magufuli's administration in the endeavor to build an industrial economy,” he said.
The Arab Contractors Company received a contract to design and construct the dam and power plant in October 2018. Construction of the facility will involve building a main dam and appurtenant structures, with expected reservoir length of 100 km, covering an area of about 1,350 square km. The dam height is about 134 meters.
The massive project has been on the drawing board for decades as part of Tanzania's master power plan, which envisions Stieglers Gorge helping interconnect the grids of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.