Works on Karuma suffer fresh setback

Friday May 10 2019

Destroyed. The demolished floating boom at the

Destroyed. The demolished floating boom at the intake section at Karuma hydro power dam. Photo by Julius Ocungi 


KIRYANDONGO/NWOYA. The 600-megawatts Karuma hydro dam project in Kiryandongo District has suffered another setback following destruction of one of the newly-installed floating boom at the site, Daily Monitor has learnt.

Multiple sources familiar with the ongoing works said the floating boom, which holds the floating trash rack, was destroyed last Friday during the third stage river diversion exercise meant to return water to its natural flow.

The first stage involved diverting the river from its normal flow whereas the second one conducted last year involved blocking water from the dam site.

A source, who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said the incident was a result of a strong water pressure that entered the water intake point.

Floating trash racks intake structures protect the turbines from damage from branches, stones, logs and man-made waste.
“The engineers are trying to work out ways of fixing the problem, but visibly one of the floating trash racks is demolished. It won’t be able to work in controlling debris before clean water flows to the turbine,” the source added.

Another source said work at the intake section has temporarily been halted as engineers wait for reduction of water volume so that they can rectify the problem.
AF-Consult Switzerland Ltd recently took over supervision from Energy Infratech Pvt Limited (EIPL) as Karuma Hydro Power plant owner’s engineer.


Mr Simon Kasyate, the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited corporate affairs manager, confirmed the incident to Daily Monitor on Wednesday.
He, however, said the problem was “minor” and would be fixed immediately.

“What happened doesn’t have any huge impact on the project; we shall get welders and repair the broken floating boom. The Karuma hydro power project is on course,” Mr Kasyate said.
Mr Kasyate declined to discuss if the damage was likely to delay the engineering works.

“It is not important to talk about the effect this destruction poses on the project; work is ongoing, this is just something very small,” he said.

The $1.65b (Shs6.2 trillion) flagship hydro power plant is being constructed by Sinohydro Corporation Limited, with 85 per cent funding from China’s EXIM Bank.

Government is chipping in 15 per cent of the project costs.
The Karuma dam was to be commissioned by end of last year, but the contractor requested for an extension, citing hitches in design and engineering as well as factors beyond their control.

In 2016, the dam also developed cracks on the spillway concrete which was attributed to shoddy work.