President Julius Nyerere yesterday (Tuesday) opened the Nyumba Ya Mungu (House of God) Dam in the foothills of famed Mount Kilimanjaro.
President Julius Nyerere yesterday (Tuesday) opened the Nyumba Ya Mungu (House of God) Dam in the foothills of famed Mount Kilimanjaro. The 2 1/2-million pound sterling (6-million dollar) project is the biggest hydro-electric power scheme in Tanzania.
The dam has been built at the Pangani River basin - an area in which about 10% of the population of Tanzania live. The headwaters of the Pangani rise sharply when the snows of Mount Kilimanjaro melt - this fact, plus the normal problem of harnessing seasonal rainfall, led to the development of this hydro-electric scheme.
Following a series of local studies carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Co-operatives - assisted by advisers from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.) - commissioned a British firm, Sir William Halcrow and Partners, to report on the development of the river basin. The contract for the construction of the dam was awarded to another British engineering firm, Richard Costain, in 1964 - and was completed in April 1966. The Power Station was also finalised in 1966, and the installation of the generating equipment commenced in 1967. The first power flowed from the station in May this year, indicating that the project was ready to go into operation.
Not only is the project expected to give a major boost to the nation's power supply and supply sorely-needed year-round irrigation to farmers in the area - but it will also help the local fishing industry. At least two types of food fish - Tilapia and Catfish - are already found to be thriving in the newly-created lake formed by the dam, and several fishing villages have sprung up along the lake's 15-mile (24-kilometre) shore.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps and industrialists, who were officially greeted by Mr. Derek Bryceson, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Co-operatives.
After being taken on a guided tour of the entire installations, President Nyerere unveiled the inaugural plaque and symbolically started the project's operations.