WEST AFRICA – A Chinese contractor, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has been awarded a contract to build the Gourbassi hydroelectric development project on the Falémé River, on the Senegal-Malian border.
According to Africa Energy Portal the US$ 273 million (243 million euros) project is initiated by the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS).
OMVS is a sub-regional organisation bringing together Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea and Mali.
The Gourbassi dam is the fifth hydroelectric dam to be built by the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS).
It follows the Manantali and Gouina dams, located in the Kayes region of Mali, the Diama dam located on the Senegal River (Senegal) and the Koukoutamba hydroelectric dam, in the Togué division of northern Guinea.
A report by Africa Energy Portal notes that the project is a quantum leap forward in improving the livelihoods of Senegalese and Mali people.
Upon completion, the multimillion dollar, Gourbassi hydroelectric dam is expected to help improve access to water and electricity in Senegal and Mali.
Once works on the dam are complete, the Gourbassi hydroelectric dam is expected to have an installed capacity of 18 MW, with a guaranteed optimum flow of 500 m³ per second at Bakel (the hydrometric station that controls almost all the flows in the lower Senegal River valley).
According to the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS), the dam will also make it possible to raise the water level of the Senegal River to a satisfactory level, i.e. 2.1 billion m3 of water.
This according to OMVS will enable permanent navigation on the river for over 905 km, from Saint-Louis in Senegal to Ambidébi in Mali.
OMVS notes that improved navigation on the river will not only improve transport but also boost others sectors of the economy around the Senegal river, agriculture being the chief beneficiary.
The Gourbassi hydroelectric development project will also enable OMVS to support low floods, to ensure sufficient submersion of flood plains and allow flood recession crops.
“Additional areas will be able to be irrigated in the off-season by controlled inflows from the dam. This will boost the agricultural potential of the Senegal River valley,” the Senegal River Basin Development Organization stated in a statement.
Another impact of the Gourbassi project will be the development of fishing activities and the dam will greatly increase access to drinking water for the people in Mali and Senegal.
“We hope that this project will have a positive impact on the living conditions of the populations and the development of activities in the countries concerned,” says OMVS.
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