KARUDEC Hydro Power Limited (KHPL) is in the process of developing a micro-hydropower scheme of 0.4MW in Kasese on River Rwembya to provide a reliable power source to Kagando Hospital. The surplus will be sold to the national grid. It is government policy and requirement under the National Environment Cap 153 that a hydropower project must be subjected to Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) in order to identify any impacts and mitigate/minimize negative impacts or enhance positive impacts.

KARUDEC Hydro Power Limited (KHPL) is a private company, limited by guarantee based in Kagando, Kasese, Uganda at Kagando Rural Development Center (KARUDEC). KHPL is responsible for generation and management of electricity for KARUDEC and its sub-ordinate institutions (Kagando Hospital, Kagando Primary and Nursery School, Kagando School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kagando School of Medical Laboratory and Theater Technology and Kagando Hospital Farm).

To archive its objectives, KHPL is going to construct and will operate a small hydro power scheme at the development center. This development will pose potential alterations to the community sectors (social, economic, health and environmental) some of which are highlighted in this report.

Christian Engineers in Development (CED) are the owner’s engineers for this project. They provide all the necessary technical assistance and are in charge of producing the outline design and the documents needed by KHPL to attain consents and permits. However, there is some third party specialist work that CED cannot do in the project, such as Environmental Impact Assessment, Sediment Analysis, Seismic Surveys, Geotechnical surveys among other specialist surveys.

Project Photos

Utilising the Rwembya River for the purposes of micro-hydro power (MHP) based electricity generation is not a new phenomenon. The original hospital MHP scheme was installed over 30 years ago in 1986. It featured a short diversion pipe to abstract water between a river intake and the power house at Nsenyi. All abstracted water being returned to the river from the outfall at the power house. The intake was at a point where the Rwembya leaves the southern foot-hills of the Rwenzori mountain range. The “depleted reach” of the river (between intake and power house), has had lower flows than it would otherwise have had for the last 30 years. Power from the MHP power house was transmitted to Kagando hospital by a buried 11kV cable. The original scheme equipment was superseded with a new hydro plant of a different type but using the same intake and power house (although the latter was enlarged somewhat to accommodate the new equipment). This scheme was installed and commissioned in 1995. The second scheme had limited power capacity and reliability issues; it was abandoned some years ago. However, this was done in the knowledge and expectation that a larger MHP scheme would be subsequently developed using a new intake much further upstream (and higher) at a location known locally as “Kaliba”.
The intake weir will be at Kaliba approximately 1,510mASL and the new power house will be constructed adjacent to the old power house; the latter will be used for HV transformer room, storage room and operator office. With the new intake at Kaliba, the “depleted reach” in the River Rwembya will increase to approximately 2.3 km (from around 0.5km for the original schemes). The penstock pipe will run along a steep slope between the intake and the power house (Kaliba-Buzira-Nsenyi). The generated power will be evacuated using a 33kVA line that runs from Nsenyi to Kagando Hospital with two HV transformers at both ends.
The development and operation of the project will include a number of activities that range from desk to field based roles. This includes design, surveys, construction, maintenance and demolition at a later stage. KHPL built a measuring weir at Kaliba from November 2017 to February 2018 to continue gauging the flow in the River Rwembya. This was replacement of the historical wooden weir at the same location KHPL in consultation with the owners engineer- Christian Engineers in Development are doing a detailed feasibility study and finalizing the outline design, specifications for mechanical, electrical and civil components of the scheme. KHPL obtained an 18 month feasibility study permit that was effective from 18th November 2019. Feasibility study will include but not limited to Geotechnical study, network studies, topographical studies, hydrology studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Resettlement Action Plan, Financial and Economic analysis, Construction planning, risk assessment and preparation of the relevant reports. Construction will only start after obtaining a generation license which is dependent on the feasibility study results. Operation and maintenance will involve routine repairs, parts replacements, renovations and regular system upgrades or renewal.
The Rwembya Micro-hydropower scheme is a small scale plant that will have little effect on the effect or society during construction and operation. However by statutory legislation, KHPL has to do a detailed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for clearance by the National Environmental Management Authority, NEMA. Various people will be involved with the project. Some of these will be affected adversely by the activities of the project. This will require that the resettlement, rehabilitation or compensation. This has to be done in a fair and appropriate way. This will be determined by the Resettlement Action Study to be presented to the Central Government Valuer. KHPL has hired ENVTECH Consult Ltd to do both the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment and the Resettlement Action Plan for the Rwembya MHP.