Saturday, January 22, 2022

OKACOM says NamPower   hydro power plant in Okavango will not go ahead

NamPower has shelved its envisaged Popa Falls Hydro Power Project on the Okavango River in Namibia, putting to rest fears by environmentalists that the project would have a negative impact on the flow of water in the Okavango Delta. This was revealed by the Permanent Okavango River Water Commission (OKACOM), an interstate organization established by the tripartite governments of Angola, Botswana and Namibia to see how the countries can collectively benefit from the shared river resource dismissed the claims.

OKACOM Executive Secretary, Ebenizario Chonguica has dismissed reports that NamPower will go ahead with the Popa Falls Hydro Project on the Okavango River in Namibia. It was feared that the proposed project would have a negative impact on the Okavango Delta which was recently listed as world heritage site. Chonguica dismissed the National Geographic Magazine article which suggested that NamPower was going ahead with the project. He said that the project which was proposed by Nampower has long been shelved.  Chonguica said that there was inaccuracy on reports that the Nampower was going ahead with the project.

Chonguica stated that OKACOM which is tasked with monitoring the use of shared water resources between the three countries was involved when the NamPower was preparing the feasibility study for the project. He said at the moment there are no plans to build the power station, adding that the project has been shelved.

“The proposed project in Namibia was to be built in Popa Falls where the river drops a few meters, which was┬áthe only feasible location for hydroelectricity generation,” he said.

The feasibility of three alternative run-of-river sites associated with this location was considered in 2003 in an attempt to preserve the falls themselves because of their high tourism value.

“NamPower has shelved the proposal, because of operational constraints, and at present there are no plans to build the Popa Falls Hydropower Scheme,” said Chonguica.

In their websites Nampower also confirmed that indeed the company has shelved the proposed hydro project. Chonguica dismissed fears that NamPower could go ahead arguing that such project could not start without the knowledge of OKACOM. He said it was impossible for a project of such magnitude to start along the Okavango River basin without consultation since it could have a negative impact on the delta.


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