Construction of Rusumo Falls power project could delay

Friday July 05 2019

Construction of Regional Rusumo Falls Hydro Power plant may delay due to technical glitches that require heavy and extra drilling, Rwanda Today has learnt. Photo | Cyril NDEGEYA


Construction of the Regional Rusumo Falls Hydro Power plant may delay due to technical glitches.

According to site engineers of the joint hydropower project between Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, it is difficult to cut through rock to channel the water from the dam to the turbine.

The project is anticipated to produce at least 26.6 megawatts for each of the three countries.

Rwanda Today has learnt that the engineers have requested the ministerial council to extend the completion period by more than a year. However, the request has been turned down by the energy ministers from the three countries.

Medard Kalemani, Tanzania’s minister in charge of Energy and the chairman of the ministerial council, said “the contractors have requested an extended period saying that the work remaining is heavy but we turned down their request. They have to adhere to the contract time frame ending February 2020.”

Chinese Construction firms (CGCOC Group Ltd and Jianxi Water and Hydropower Construction Ltd) who are constructing the plant under the supervision of Nile Basin Initiative and Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure, have so far dug a 400 metre-long tunnel. They are stuck with the remaining 300 metres of rock, which goes beneath the road connecting Rwanda and Tanzania.


“We hired blasting experts to assist the contractors to meet Tanzania’s safety requirements, but after three trials of blasting we were still below the requirements,” said Ciza Jerome, the acting project manager.

Contractors of Rusumo Falls Hydro Electric Power was commissioned in 2017 with a deadline of February 2020.

“There are no funds for this extra work because the budget took into consideration these factors,” said Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure.

The project is funded by the World Bank for Rwf309.5 billion, while the transmission lines connecting the three countries to the power plant have been funded by the African Development Bank for Rwf117 billion.