While the Ugandans might have had trouble securing visas to compete in this year’s World Kayak Freestyle Championships on Canada’s Ottawa River, their hometown White Nile River is facing even more trouble waters…it’s about to be lost and changed forever by the construction of the Isimba Dam….
The government of Uganda and The World Bank recently signed an agreement protecting one whitewater section of river from being flooded by any further dam construction. The Isimba Dam, however, is scheduled to be built at a height that would nullify the Kalagala Offset Agreement, and flood this amazing section of river.
But proponents of paddling like longtime kayaker and filmmaker Polly Green are still giving it a fighting chance, and are advocating paddlers to contact the World Bank and tell them they’re aware of this.
“Building the smallest dam height option would honor the Kanagala Offset agreement and cause a fraction of the impact in and along the Nile,” says Green.
Green’s new video (Click Here!) calls attention to the issue.
“It’s all about what’s happening with the Isimba Dam and what we can do to help the World Bank ensure that the smallest size dam is built,” adds Jessie Stone, a kayaker and doctor who practices in Uganda.
Stone adds that over the summer more than 10,000 Ugandans whose communities will be affected by Isimba Dam have signed a hard copy of a petition protesting the dam height.
“We are urging the Ugandan government to downsize the Isimba Dam Hydro Power Project on the Nile in Uganda to honor Uganda’s international agreements, help Uganda’s continued long-term development, and protect the River Nile,” says Stone.
Three levels have been proposed for the height of Isimba Dam, she adds, the highest of which will:
• displace over 2000 Ugandans, who are predominantly subsistence farmers.
• deteriorate water quality and increase water-borne diseases for hundreds of thousands of Ugandans living around the project area and downstream, who rely on the Nile for drinking and washing.
• flood a unique, world famous section of whitewater. Year after year the white water attracts people from all over the world and the income associated with these visitors helps to support many thousands of Ugandan’s through well-paid jobs in tourism.
• violate a conservation agreement between the Ugandan Government and the World Bank that was put in place to protect this precious section of river that is part of every Ugandan’s heritage.
We believe the smaller alternative to be the better balance for Uganda’s future. The lowest version of the Isimba Dam will:
• still generate a substantial amount of electrical power to supplement Uganda’s requirements and will cost less to build.
• not affect the Conservation Area.
• have negligible effect on a unique and beautiful section of whitewater, that offers so much to Uganda as a tourism resource and can be developed for future generations.
• minimize the negative effects on water quality and human health.
• greatly reduce the number of people who would be displaced and the environmental impact by keeping the reservoir largely inside the river banks.
To help, sign and promote the following petition to help conserve the source of the longest river in the world, as well as the communities that depend on it.
Sign petition HERE!