The feasibility studies for Angololo project located on the trans-boundary Malaba River, within the Sio-Malaba-Malakisi River Basin in Busia County will end by June next year.
The project identified by Kenya and Uganda in collaboration with the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) envisages a 43 million cubic metre dam.
The NELSAP project officer Eng. Martin Okirya says the feasibility study was hampered by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The studies were meant to take 18 months but due to COVID-19, we had issues with international consultants coming on board,” he said.
Okirya says the trans-boundary dam located in Teso North, Busia County to be shared with locals in Uganda is for portable water supply, irrigation and hydropower generation.
“Angololo has three major components, it has the dam component, it has the irrigation component and water supply hydro power,” he said.
He says there will be a watershed management at the upstream of the dam.
Okirya says the feasibility studies will help in advising whether the dam project is viable or not.
“We have the technical feasibility studies, they have started with the geotechnical to get data that will enable the design of the dam,” he said.
He announced that an independent consultant has been tasked to work on a Resettlement Action Plan and compensation framework.
He assured families who will be affected by the project that the consultant will assess the wealth of the community ranging from land, houses, trees and other assets.
“The consultant will check on the disturbance allowance and know what the cost of relocation is,” he said.
Environmental studies too will be conducted on biodiversity in the area and to include loss of vegetation and medicinal trees.
However, the locals in Teso North are worried about the project and are calling for further public participation.
Speaking during a consultation forum on the Sio-Malaba-Malakisi project being run by the Nile Basin Discourse in Moding centre, locals had reservations on the project.
Sylvia Emoit, a resident of Kamachar, the project location, says they are not ready to relocate if there is no proper relocation plan.
Emoit says cultural issues are clouding the whole process since most families are wondering how they will leave behind the graves of their loved ones.
“Every year, we have rituals around the graves of our fathers and mothers, how will this be done if we are relocated,” he said.
Emoit says public participation needs to be conducted to demystify the myths surrounding the dam project.
The project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) will take 3,3000ha of land in both Kenya and Uganda with an irrigation area of 2,505ha and the potential to generate 103KW of hydropower.
By Joseph Ojwang