THE government has expressed satisfaction with the quality of works during the first phase of upgrading Kamuzu Barrage in Liwonde, Machinga District.
Under the Shire River Basin Management Programme (SRBMP) project, the government started rehabilitating Kamuzu Barrage after noticing that the barrage was past its life span as it was commissioned in 1965.
Speaking in an interview on Friday after briefing journalists that toured the construction site, Tony Nyasulu, who is the project’s government site representative under the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Development, said the whole project is set to be completed by June 2018 as planned.
Nyasulu said, as a time management measure, contractors on the site have finished production of some materials which will be used during the second phase of the project so as to avoid delays experienced during the first phase.
“We have conducted the tests for the first phase and the works show that the quality of work has been of high standard as planned. The flow of water is going as we wanted it to be because the project is expected to regulate water levels so that the water in the Shire River is managed sustainably,” Nyasulu said.
Among other things, Nyasulu said the barrage will improve water levels in Lake Malawi because the size of the new gates at the barrage have been increased by close to half a metre so as to capture enough water that can be reserved then released when demand on the lower Shire River stream increases.
“The barrage is 140 metres long. During the first phase, we have completed five gates and only eight are remaining. We are happy to say that the contractors have already done pre-casting of concrete beams that will be used on the bridge, hence there will not be an excuse for further delays this time around,” Nyasulu said.
Communications specialist for SRBMP, Horace Nyaka, said apart from construction of the barrage, his organisation is engaging communities on upper Shire River to make sure that they appreciate the importance of taking care of the river, which benefits a lot of people down the stream.
The barrage, whose gates have been computerised, is intended to regulate Shire River water flow to ensure that there is sustainable water flow for hydro power generation, irrigation and other uses.