Efforts to save the Kyambura River from the Hydro Power construction/ save Kyambura Gorge from Hydro Power/ Save nature for sustainable development.
Another conservationist worry has raised following the public notice published by Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) noticing on the move to give a way Kyambura River for hydro power construction. The notice was published on September 15, 2021 that ERA had received a notice of intended application for a license from Rubirizi Energy EP (UG) Limited for the generation and sale of Electricity from Kyambura II small Hydro Power Plant propose to be constructed on Kyambura River which project shall be downstream of the operational 7.6 MW Kyambura Hydro Plant
Farther the notice also indicated that Rubirizi Energy EP (UG) Limited intends to undertake feasibility studies and other activities that leads to the development of the power plant whose proposed installation capacity is 6.5MW. And the generated power will be sold to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited leading to national grip.
The Electricity Regulatory Authority invited interest parties which are directly affected and the Local Authorities affected by the project to make comments and lodge objections in respect to the Notice. And among the most affected parties included the tourism and the hospitality sector which is benefiting directly and indirectly from Kyambura.
The area on River Kyambura where ERA is proposing for a hydro power plant is located in Rubirizi district in Kanungu sub-county in Kyambura Wildlife Reserve an extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park on the earn arm covering an area of 157sqkm. Commonly known as the Kyambura Gorge is another exquisite thrill of Queen Elizabeth National Park popularly recognized for hosting a number of chimpanzees.
Kyambura Gorge features on the great Queen Elizabeth Protected Areas (QEPA) availed during the formations of the Great Rift Valley. Kyambura unequally is a special tropical rain forest amidst the large Savannah surroundings and is legally protected by Uganda Wildlife Authority. This forested protected area is among the intact rich biodiversity of Uganda which doesn’t requisite for any kind of commotion.
The immediate notice by ERA has awaken many tourism stake holders to start out again on the campaign to save Kyambura Gorge Wildlife Reserve. For the sake of conservation like it has been done on save Murchison falls from the proposed Hydro Power Dam at Uhuru falls, and the save Bugoma Forest Reserve from sugar cane plantation. Conservationist have desperately come out to ensure that Kyambura Gorge is spared for eco-friendly and sustainable use for tourism sector instead of the government proposed Hydro power program.
In comments by tourism stake holder under the lead Mr. Boniface Byamukama a tour operator as well a very renown conservationist said that activities like Biodiversity conservation, scenic viewing, recreation, scientific research, and other economic activities as stated in Uganda Wildlife Authority act that after an environment impact assessment study are allowed to take place.
Also Mr. Byamukama expounded that since River Kyambura being a lifeline of the wider eco system also paves wandering courses for chimpanzees between Kasyoha – Kitomi and Queen Elizabeth National Park, any development along the Kyambura River will disrupt the movement of Chimpanzees in the areas and later results into wildlife-human conflicts finding chimpanzees in gardens of surrounding communities.
He notified that the government should also consider the 20% revenue collected on the national park entrances. Mr. Byamukama called on the government of Uganda to stop any kind of illegal activity done in Kyambura gorge since it’s a protect area under the penal code of Uganda protected areas Act of 1991.
Uganda Tour Operators’ Association UTOA, Uganda Tourism Association and other conservation are reminding the government to revisit the law, Uganda law has great protection and conservation guideline in place, but the implementation and their enforcement is still weak.
In our opinion; conservation is now becoming another critical issue which the public has to keep reminding the government. Considering development is not a weird movement by the government but surrendering places of national importance like the natural resources which can be naturally used in a sustainably eco-friendly manner for development and considering destroying them is very dangerous especially in these climates trying moment of severe climate change.
We say not hydro power dam at Kyambura River, let the government consider using nature friendly measure like using the solar power. Advisably the government should be working hard to ensure that all treasures of national importance are well employed to ensure that they are not troubled. As well working on corruption mind which has corrupted real route of general revolution.