An update for those who are interested in the dam proposed for the Batoka Gorge section of the Zambezi River:
We had a meeting recently with a company called Environmental Resources Management (ERM) who are doing the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the Batoka Gorge Dam on the Zambezi.
The situation is as follows:
- The dam wall will be built 47km downstream of the falls
- It will be 181m high and when the dam is full the water would reach all the way to the last pool before the falls – ie ALL the one day rafting and more would be under water.
- It will take 2 years to build the roads and workers camps and then 7 years to build the dam.
- At the moment the Scoping part of the ESIA has been completed and they are now working on the Baseline Data Gathering and then they must do the Impact Assessment and then the ESIA is ready to be presented. They think this will only be finished earliest about June.
- The IRF sent questions in on behalf of the IRF during the scoping phase (see Batoka Gorge Dam – 18 Nov 2014) – this was the same as the African Paddling Association letter) and so these questions MUST be answered in the ESIA.
- From our meeting we felt these people are approaching this in a professional and very thorough way. Having said that, we were able to open their eyes to a number of issues that they were not aware of and which they duly noted to include in their research.
- One of the things we pushed with them was that this project has huge international interest and so should be directed that way or it would not be a thorough, complete study. They have agreed to work with us and International Rivers to get news out of meetings and questionnaires, etc when data gathering.
- The World Bank has funded the ESIA ONLY. There is no funding available yet for the building of the dam and the funding will most likely depend on the outcome of the ESIA.
So – it is REALLY, REALLY important that when this company do start requesting input from the public that we get everyone around the world to participate! We’re not sure when this will be but it will be some time in Dec or Jan.
There’s no way we can let them do this dam – but it will take a concerted effort at times from all of us, especially those of us that have access to large numbers of people through social media, to get them to respond at the right time and in a consolidated way that has the right impact.
Please spread the word.
Anyone that has any other questions please feel free to ask.
Other links –
- Facebook page: StopTheBatokaDamOnTheZambeziRiver
- Batoka Gorge – Community Meeting Presentation (ERM)
- International Rivers Organisation article
- lowdownzambia.com article
- IRF – International Rafting Federation
- IRO – International Rivers Organisation
- APA – African Paddling Association