The upgraded Kamuzu Barrage at Liwonde in Machinga is expected to be completed in October this yea, one year after missing the initial deadline, an official has said.
Government site engineer Toney Nyasulu said the works are at an advanced stage.
He disclosed this after a media tour of the barrage on Friday.
Nyasulu said the barrage was expected to be completed in October 2017 but this failed due to some technical problems the contractors were experiencing on site.
“The decking of the new bridge is now done and the removal of the existing gates and replace with new ones is underway. Very soon road construction to link the bridge will start soon and we are hopefully that come October everything will be done,” Nyasulu said.
The Site Engineer said the completion of the barrage would improve efficiency and capacity of regulating the water levels upstream and downstream.
“We are hoping the barrage will provide a crucial role in help to reduce cases of flooding and soil erosion downstream. We have replaced the old gates which were being operated manually and we have installed new gates which will be operated by machines,” he explained.
Nyasulu added that the construction of the new bridge downstream parallel to the existing one would allow the old bridge to be used for the operation of the barrage and pedestrian traffic.
He said the bridge has 14 gates which are 40 cm higher than the precious one and this would help in the flow of water.
Nyasulu pointed out that the new bridge would solely be used all vehicles.
“We are removing the weed boom and replace with a new one in order to improve the capacity and efficiency of weed capture. We will instill a jib crane/weed collector and this will collect the weeds to be accumulated on the eastern side of the weed boom,” Government Engineer narrated.
Nyasulu added that bridge portion is completed; erosion protection and energy dissipaters are completed.
“Six new gates have been fitted and office building for the barrage and jib crane operations is completed. The concrete foundations for the jib crane and weed boom anchorage are under construction,” he disclosed.
He said the construction of the new intake for southern water board for Liwonde town council is underway.
Kamuzu Barrage is part of the Adaptable Programme Loan for Shire River Basin Management Programme Project to develop the Shire River Basin planning framework to improve land and water management in targeted areas. The barrage is financed by the World Bank to the tune of $50 million (about K36.5 billion).
Shire River Basin Management Programme Project communication specialist Horace Nyaka said the project is important to Malawi because over six million people live along the Shire River Basin and the river is source to 98 percent of the country’s power generation.
He said the project thought it wise to engage media managers to appreciate the rate of progress.
“We have engaged reporters on a number of occasions and now we are involving the Media Managers to see for themselves. So far so good, the coverage for the project has been fantastic and we don’t have issues with the media,” Nyaka said.
Kamuzu barrage was commissioned in 1965 to regulate the flow levels of water in the Shire River to ensure sustainable water flow for hydro power generation, irrigation, water supply and other uses.
The barrage controls water flooding in the lower Shire.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :