Engineers constructing the 600MW Karuma hydropower dam in Kiryandongo District have successfully conducted the first phase of tests on key installations at the facility.
Mr Li Ji, the deputy manager of Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, which is undertaking the construction works, told Daily Monitor on Monday that tests have been conducted on the intake, radial and spillway gates, including some turbines.
"The confirmatory tests push the project to 95 per cent completion status. At our current work pace, we expect all the works to be complete by December, the commissioning deadline," he said.
Preliminary tests on key equipment started at the end of July until late last month, according to Mr Ji.
The $1.7 billion power plant was initially expected to be commissioned in December 2018 but due to some challenges, it was pushed to December this year.
During a visit to the site at the weekend, workers could be seen removing debris, plastering and painting walls housing the caverns, generator units while others cast concrete on access roads inside the tunnel.
Works on the outgoing line yard and switch-yard (GIS) are all complete as well as the transmission lines (Karuma-Lira and Karuma-Kawanda). Works on the Karuma-Olwiyo installation line are 98 per cent complete, according to the contractor. The contractor said currently, the overall physical progress of the project stands at 95 per cent, with all the civil works inside the powerhouse, dam's intake and outfall concrete works complete except the ecological ladder.
According to the project owner, the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL), construction of the fish ladder (a non-over flow section) is currently ongoing. The section enables fish and other aquatic life to move freely upstream to feed and reproduce.
Mr Andrew Kamagara, an engineer at Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, said a team of Ugandan engineers is being trained to manage the project so that upon its commissioning, they are ready to assume responsibilities of operations and maintenance once the contractor leaves.
He, however, decried the continuous theft of equipment at the site.
"It is not only a challenge for us at Sinohydro but even for the project owners UEGCL (government)," Mr Kamagara said.
"But due to several managerial discussions, several strategies, including installation of more CCTV cameras, have been issued and many have been arrested and prosecuted," he added.
ABOUT THE DAM
Status. The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd (UEGCL) has indicated the Chinese firm constructing the Karuma hydro-power project in Kiryandongo District will hand over the project in December as per the contract deadline.
Completion date. The $1.7 billion power plant was initially expected to be commissioned in December 2018 but due to some challenges, it was pushed to December this year.