Saturday, September 02, 2006

Of hydros and smelly fish...

The Kalungwishi hydro project could present us all and the local fish-dependent population with another Livingstone Nat Park 'development' fait accompli........a 160MW hydro project intending to take out a 140m head of the Kalungwishi River water (including the three huge waterfalls; Chimpempe, Kabwelume & Lumangwe) and the surrounding relatively unspoilt environment is huge and of likely huge impact - this not just in ecology & environment terms, but also in terms of the survival of the (alarmingly fast-growing) populations of people along this river. All for electricity which we don't need for Zambia (which the local populations will not get and couldn't afford even if they did) but which will be nice and profitable to export.
What regard is given to just how important such natural resources are - and how profitable they could be if protected and used sustainably for Zambia and her people's long term good?
There seems to be an incredible ignorance as to just how close the rural populations are directly dependent on the fragile natural environment - their shelter; their food; their water; everything.
How many jobs will the hydro project produce? How many livelihoods will it destroy or change for the bad?

The Kafue Pollution & Dead Fish Population incident - as usual the reported ECZ response to the Kafue pollution incident(s) is to say the least weak (which is what you would call it if you're exceptionally polite). The latest from the farmers in that area is that the ECZ now reports to them that it could have been caused by a tanker that leaked acid when on a bridge.
So the ECZ's reported opinions and findings change by the week:
*First, the "initial findings" were that it was nothing to do with mining pollution;
*Then, it was mining pollution;
*Now, it was a tanker spilling acid from a bridge.

What next? - probably nothing conclusive while we let the culprits off the hook with the excuse that "we are suffering from the legacy of the past".

PS - one widespread feature of Zambia's share of the Congo Basin system of rivers in Luapula & N provinces is that the mosquito nets issued free by certain donor organisations and intended to 'save children's lives', are going straight to the rivers to end the fish populations lives, which of course in turn will end the children's lives...........
PPS - have you heard about the "tourist development" of the Zambezi Source?? It has been completely Nat Heritage Conservation "Commissioned" into a complete tourist joke.
PPPS - at 1.5MW (initially 0.75MW), the hydro scheme on the upper Zambezi at Kaleni Hill again is very many times what's needed for the mission station and for little Ikelenge town. It's also too much for the beautiful Zambezi Rapids stretch of the river, which will be a gonner very soon.


Govt shortlists 2 companies for Kalungwishi power station development
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday August 17, 2006

GOVERNMENT has shortlisted two companies for the development of the proposed
160-mega watts Kalungwishi Hydro Electric Power station in Northern Province.

Office of the Promotion of Private Power Investments (OPPPI) director John
Wright said Olympic Milling in association with Lunzuwa Hydro Corporation
and Lunsemfwa Hydro Power Company would be invited to submit their proposals
relating to the development of the power project.

"Government has decided to concession the development of Kalungwishi power
station by inviting the private sector and two companies have been
shortlisted for the same project," Wright said.

"The Ministry has just completed designing the framework and will through
the national tender board formally invite these two firms to submit their
proposals that will be evaluated and negotiations will be commenced with the
successful bidder who will be given the concessional rights to develop the

Wright said when the Kalungwishi project is fully developed and becomes
operational, transmission lines would be constructed to link the
Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnection at Kasama.

"There is potential to produce 160 mega watts at Kalungwishi and after its
completion, there will also be provision to construct power transmission
lines (250 kilometres) that will link at Kasama to join the interconnector
regional project," said Wright.

Studies for the development of hydro electric power on Kalungwishi River was
earlier carried out by Legger, Waster Meyer, Piesold and Uhlmann Consultants
in 1973.

It was envisaged then that it was feasible to provide a power station, which
would utilise the confluence of Lumangwe, Kabwelume and Chimpempe falls that
is 140 metres deep.


Kafue river indicates mine waste - ECZ
By Carol Jilombo
Saturday August 19, 2006

ENVIRONMENTAL Council of Zambia (ECZ) manager-inspectorate Patson Zulu has
revealed that samples taken from the Kafue River indicate mine water waste.

Last week, fish of various sizes were found dead or dying in the Kafue River
due to suspected chemical poisoning.

To this effect, ECZ had warned the public against consuming water or dead
fish from the Kafue River.

Zulu said the fish died from mine effluent, which had caused the pollution.

Zulu said ECZ was already on the ground sorting out the problem.
"We have already asked the mines within the vicinity to show us their
operation and production books so that we can ascertain the activities they
engaged in during the period the fish were dying," said Zulu.
And ECZ director Edward Zulu on Thursday said the mines were the major
pollutants of rivers.

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) was earlier this year given up to December 31 by
ECZ to comply with pollution control regulations.
"KCM has a waste disposal site but the pollution control dam in Chingola is
full and that is the biggest polluting factor at the moment. It requires a
redesign of the entire system," he said.

Zulu acknowledged that the smelters on the Copperbelt were old and designed
at a time when there was no environmental concern.
"We are suffering from the legacy of the past but pollution is something we
have to manage," said Zulu.
Rolf Shenton