By Mena Report Reporters
Aug 25, 2003 (Menareport) — The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development has signed a $12 million loan agreement with the Republic of the Sudan to co-finance an initiative to rehabilitate the deep sluice gates of the Roseires Dam.
The three-year loan will have an interest rate of one percent per annum, with an annual service charge of one percent on amounts withdrawn and outstanding. It will have a maturity of 20 years, including a grace period of five years.
A full-scale rehabilitation of the sluices is urgently needed to halt existing water losses and prevent operational failures that could jeopardize agricultural production and compromise the delivery of electricity.
One of the Sudan’s greatest assets is a rich agricultural potential, with over two-thirds of its land suitable for crop production. The Roseires Dam, situated some 540 kilometers southeast of the capital Khartoum, draws water from the Blue Nile, which is then diverted to large and small-scale irrigation schemes.
In addition, the dam serves a nearby hydropower station that feeds the Blue Nile Grid, providing the Sudan with around 40 percent of its electrical power. Water is released from the dam by means of high and low level gated outlets, the most important of which are five deep sluice gates. These gates help prevent silt accumulation and are also responsible for controlling water flow. The deep sluices, however, have been in operation for over 25 years, and a series of inspections has revealed that sediment flow has caused extensive abrasion and as a result, the stainless steel-clad liners of the sluices have eroded considerably. Although a number of temporary repairs have taken place, none have provided a long-term solution.
Under the project, the steel liners on all five sluices will be replaced and grouted, and all unprotected concrete surfaces refaced. Materials will be used to insure 25 years of service without the need for major repairs. In order to insure the reliability and safety of the entire deep sluice installation, the hydro-mechanical plant and all associated equipment will be extensively refurbished.
The Sudan has previously benefited from OPEC Fund loans totaling over $135 million. This amount includes loans for balance of payments support, commodity imports programs and projects in the energy, transportation and agricultural sectors.
Fund grants went to help the Sudan cover its subscription to the Common Fund for Commodities, to finance emergency assistance programs, to meet the costs of research in the area of wind erosion and sand transport, to build and maintain primary schools, to implement rural water supply and sanitation schemes, and to rehabilitate district health facilities.