Kashambila dam will benefit 400,000 people – Minister
The Minister for Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe has said more than 400,000 Nigerians will benefit from portable water supply after the completion of the Kashambila dam in Taraba state.
Ochekpe gave this assurance Tuesday during her presentation at the Africa Focus Day, organized by the African Ministers Council on water (AMCON) at the 24th World Water Week in Stockholm Sweden. The multipurpose dam is fitted with a water treatment plant with the capacity to produce 600,000m3 per day.
The minister said the multipurpose dam will bring enormous economic benefits to the people in the area as it will spring up massive economic activities in the area.
“We expect that as different activities pick up there, the educational institutions would also emerge, banking facilities and other levels of business will come up. Definitely the economy of the area will not remain the same. One thing I can assure you is that, there will be rapid urbanization and halt rural urban migration,” she said.
The Minister also revealed that about 8,000 Nigerians will benefit from irrigation aspect of the dam as the reservoir water has the capacity to irrigate 2,000 hectares of farmland. Also, five tons of fish will be harvested from the dam daily while the hydropower dam will have the capacity to produce 40 megawatts of electricity.
The Kashambila dam was a pre-emptive response of the Nigerian government after the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) warned about the imminent collapse of the structurally deficient Lake Nyos in 2005.
The collapse of the lake will affect at least six states in Nigeria including, Kogi, Benue, Taraba and Rivers while about 30 million Nigerians will be displaced.
But the Minister assured that there is no need to fear as the government is taking necessary steps to contain whatever might result from the collapse of Lake Nyos.
Ochekpe said the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has taken a pre-emptive step to avert a looming disaster by building the dam and also creating economic opportunities.
She said the dam which costs $1billlion is fully financed by the Nigerian government. “This is a multipurpose dam that has several components including agriculture, fishing, power and tourism. About 450 people are currently employed there and with the water supply, about 400,000 people will benefit. Of course it means there will be improvements in the health status of the people, they would have enough time to engage in different activities,” Ochekpe added.
The massive investment and multiple economic potentials of the dam became the reference point at the meeting with many countries on the continent praising the initiative and urging other countries to emulate.
On issues of transparency, Ochekpe said: “The records are there, we can get you to talk to the contractors and find out how much has been spent. When you see what is on the ground you will see that the cost is justified.”
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s electricity generation may receive a boost with the completion of several more dams, primed to generate electricity. “We have assessed 19 smaller dams that have been constructed. We want to integrate hydropower components to increase power generation,” Ochekpe said.
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