Work on the second phase of heightening Roseires Dam, on the Blue Nile in southeastern Sudan, will be completed early next May. The foundation stone of the Dam was laid down by Sudan’s First Prime Minister and First President, Ismail al-Azhary, in the late 1950s and was built by the government of General Ibrahim Abbood in the early 1966. In early May 2008 the heightening operations began, consisting of concrete and earth works and rehabilitation of the sluice gates and power stations.
The project resident engineer, Khidir Gasm al-Sid said after it is heightened, the Dam will need no rehabilitation for the coming 25 years, except, of course, for the periodic maintenance. The heightening works consists of raising of the 10m concrete buttress dam from 68m to 78m, and raising of the earth dams from 30m to 40m while extension from 12.5km to 24.1km. The storage capacity is to be increased from 3 billion m3 to 7.4 billion m3.
He added that this would enable the Sudan to utilize its entire 18.5 billion cubic meter share of the Nile water as set in the 1959 Nile Water Agreement for agricultural and economic development projects. The heightening of the Dam will also increase by 40% the hydroelectric power generation from the current 1,200 to 1,700 mw/h.
Some 27 contracts have been concluded with several companies of different specializations for carrying out the project which began in early May 2008 and will last for four years to be finished in early next May, according to Eng. Gs al-Sid.
He said the reinforced concrete works include strengthening the mainstays behind the Dam by widening and lengthening them; they also include a 10-meter-high concrete mass on the floor of the Dam.
There are also earth embankments, one on the western bank of the lake (16 km long) and another on the eastern bank, 9 km long, according to Engineer Gasm Al-Sid who added that 96% of the concrete and 87% of the earth works has so far finished.
In addition to the heightening, the task will cover all of the Dam’s hydro-mechanical equipment which will be rehabilitated. These include the sluice gates and cranes, said the project engineer adding that the lower sluices have been rehabilitated and lined with a stainless cast imported from Australia the power station and the existing cranes have been rehabilitated while new cranes and sluices have been manufactured for Kenana and Rahad canals.
This year, the Engineer said, will be the last one for the existing rate of storage, 3.4 billion cubic meters and as of next year, the storage will be raied to the new capacity of 7.4 billion cubic meters with the level of the lake raise by 10 meters.
The concrete task will finish during this month of January while the earth embankments will be over during the coming months and the sluices rehabilitation will be completed shortly, Gasm Al-Sid said.
Reviewing the benefits of the heightening of the Dam, the resident Engineer said heightening the level of the lake by 10 meters will facilitate irrigation of the farming lands on both bank of the Nile. He added that the first phase would begin by a million feddans (acres) on the eastern bank to be irrigated from the Dindir Canal outlet. The start will be with Er Rusaires project, then the Dindir project and then the Rahad project. This will be followed by other phases in the future, he said.
Hydroelectric generation increase:
Another benefit, according to Eng. Gasm al-Sid, will be a substantial increase in the hydroelectric generation with the increase in the storage and level of the water of the lake which will be adequate for both irrigation and power generation purposes; and the increase in the electricity output alone justifies the heightening of the Dam.
The heightening will also help expand to more than 70,000 feddans the naturally-irrigated fields on the banks of the river to be cultivated by the people who are affected by the Dam, the resident engineer said.
He cited as yet another benefit the introduction of fishing activities, saying that Dams Unit has made plans for providing the affected people with fishing units and training them on those units, in addition to providing refrigerators, something which will improve the income of those people.
The heightening of Rusaires Dam will contribute to increasing the electricity generation at Merowe Dam as the stored 7.4 billion cubic meters will be released in intervals and Merowe Dam will no longer suffer from inadequate water flow during the dry season.
The water abundance will also be for the benefit of such agricultural projects as the Gezira Scheme, ensuring the provision of irrigation water round the year, the Engineer said.
He predicted that the projected Ethiopian Millennium Dam will help cut down the quantities of silt reaching Rusaires Dam. Gasm Al-Sid added that added that the Ethiopian Dam is designed for generation of electricity and would therefore ensure the arrival in Sudan of water supplies throughout the year, instead of during the rainy season and for only three months.
Although it requires other infrastructures, tourism can benefit from the Dam because dams are generally touristic attractions, the resident engineer said.
As regards the people affected by the heightening of Rusaires Dam, their relocation and compensation, the Director of the Dams Unit’s Resettlement Office in Ed- Damazin, Usama Mohamed Gurashy al-Tuhamy, said the conducted statistical survey showed that there were 20,516 families consisting of 110,253. The Presidency of the Republic has, before the start of the resettlement, formed a technical committee to set the compensation rates, he said.
Tuhamy added that the statistical survey of all the affected area was conducted in February 2008 under the supervision of legal consultants from the Federal Ministry of Justice; the survey listed the people’s houses, households, portable belongings, plants of all kinds and farming lands.
As regards housing and services, Tuhamy said there is a housing compounds project consisting of 22,000 houses, with service utilities, distributed in 12 towns on both eastern and western banks; the houses have been designed to suit the nature o the region, he said.
The Resettlement Office Director said what was yet to be determined was the compensation for the plants and farms for which a committee will be formed by the Presidency of the Republic to determine the rates of compensation for those plants of different kinds –whether fruit and wood- to discuss with the government of the State and agree on payment of the compensation.
The subsistence projects for the affected people, according to Tuhamy, include model forests and fisheries. The first batch of the fishing equipment which includes fishing boat, fish assembling boat and refrigerators have been distributed, he said.
The subsistence projects also include allocating to each affected family five feddans on rain-fed lands and one feddan on the bank of the river, the official said.
Twelve twons instructed on two banks of the nile around Rusaires dam project:
He added that 12 towns – seven on the western bank and five others on the eastern bank- are currently being constructed in addition to two big cities- each one on either bank,- consisting of 3,000 housing units. Those towns will be handed over by next March and the entire resettlement process will be through by the end of next May, Tuhamy said.
The Heightening project was welcomed and blessed by the natives of the area and their leaders, said the Umdah (Mayor) of the Hamaj ethnic group, Khali al-Rashid Abu Shutal whose district, part of the Fonj Kingdom, stretches from Khor Abu Zaghole to Khor Al-Serif.
He praised the Dams Unit for consulting and seeking advice of the leaders of the native administration in the region, umdahs, sheikhs and meks who, according to Abu Shotal, have all blessed the project.
He said all they demand is to accord them the same treatment as that of “our brothers” who were affected by the construction of Merowe Dam in North Sudan. The Umdah said they also demand solution of the problem of the married members of the families and provide each of them with a separate housing unit, instead of placing the entire family in one house. He said the concerned authorities have promised to resolve this problem by having the court of justice decide whether each member of the family is entitled to a separate house.
Umdah Abu Shutal also complained that the new towns were built about 35 km south of the original places of the affected people. He was hopeful that each affected person be relocated in the town nearest to his original to his original home, particularly those who are partially affected. However, all are happy with project, he said.
The ad interim Minister of Agriculture, Animal Resources and Irrigation in the Blue Nile State, Kamal al-Dinn Khalafalla Abdul Kerim, also voiced happiness with the heightening of the Dam.
“It is a real addition to the Sudan and, in particular, to the State where there are vast arable lands that require a permanent system of irrigation through the Kenana and Rahad canals.”
The Minister said the heightening was part of the major projects already implemented, like Merowe Dam and those being executed such as Sitait and Upper Atbara River.
By Ibrahim Ali Suleiman (Sudanow.info), 14 hours 6 minutes ago
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