Dar es Salaam. The National Environmental Management Council (Nemc) at the weekend okayed the government’s commitment to construct a mega hydroelectric dam at the Stiegler’s Gorge, reiterating that it will have no adverse impact on the local ecology.
The new director general of the government’s environmental watchdog, Dr Samuel Gwamaka, said that implementation of the hydroelectric power project will comply with all the relevant environmental protection measures at all levels.
The dam will provide 2,100MW of electricity to boost the country’s power supply from the current 1,400MW.
However, environmentalists contend that construction of the dam at the heart of the Selous Game Reserve will hurt the local ecology and also result in resettling of the local community.
Last month, Egypt’s prime minister Mostafa Madbouly - on behalf of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi - and President John Magufuli signed a contract to build the Stiegler’s Gorge dam.
“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 in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.
Dr Gwamaka said the Stigler’s Gorge hydroelectric project was vital in building a strong industrial economy, hence the need to develop it without affecting all sources of 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.
The National Environmental Management Council, said Dr Gwamaka, 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-industrialised economy.
“As he 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.
He called upon institutes, authorities and various stakeholders as well as members of the public to collaborate with Nemc in ensuring that the environment was protected.
Last year the Vice President’s Office ordered all the directors in towns, municipalities and cities to earmark water sources such as rivers to make sure that they were being firmly protected.
Last year, the Vice President’s Office directed all district, municipal and city councils countrywide to identify all water sources and so they can be protected.