Tour Operators Petition Parliament Over Isimba Dam Impact

1966 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Tour Operators under their umbrella body “Save Adventure Tourism in Uganda” have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the construction of Isimba dam saying it would impact negatively on adventure tourism in Uganda.

Tour Operators under their umbrella body "Save Adventure Tourism in Uganda" have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the construction of Isimba dam saying it would impact negatively on adventure tourism in Uganda.
 
The 26-page petition was accompanied by 15,000 signatures of Stakeholders from 68 different countries.  The petitioners appeal to government to look through the feasibility studies citing environmental, social and economic impact assessments of Isimba dam to avoid environmental degradation and destruction of the adventure tourism industry in Jinja.
 
It is estimated that 50,000 people participate in adventure activities like watching rapids each year around Jinja and many of whom come from outside Uganda.
 
Jeff Bidandi, the Coordinator of Save Adventure Tourism in Uganda, noted that they also want government to downsize the level of Isimba dam from the mostly favoured alternative of 1055 metres above sea level under the Social Impact Assessment to 1043 metres above sea level alternative.
 
He argued that if 1055 metres above sea level alternative is adopted, a large reservoir of 28km will be created whose effects would be severe on tourism activities such as water rafting in Jinja. Bidandi added that this alternative is also to cause submerging of world famous rapids resulting into the loss of the adventure tourism industry.
 
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Kadaga, after receiving the petition, pledged to pursue the issues highlighted as destructive to the tourism industry in Jinja.
 
Kadaga said that when she was growing up, the only thing that they used to identify with Jinja was seeing water falls. She noted that she was to sermon the Ministers of Water, Environment and Energy in a joint meeting to ensure that the issues in the petition are handled immediately and a position taken.
 
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Michael Werikhe, the chairperson of Parliament Committee on Natural resources, said the construction of the dam should consider the interests of tourism in the region to avoid destruction of crucial activities.
 
Preliminary works on Isimba Hydropower Dam project in Kayunga district have since started to help boost the country's electricity power capacity. The power station to be completed in about three years is expected to produce 183 megawatts and will cost about 57 million dollars.

 

About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.