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 Post subject: Massingir Dam
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:47 pm 
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Skukuza - The Kruger National Park is concerned plans to enlarge the Massingir dam in Mozambique will destroy one of the world's largest breeding grounds for the Nile Crocodile.

The higher dam wall and newly installed sluice gates would cause sediment to back up into the 8km-long Crocodile Gorge, said spokesperson for the Kruger National Park, Raymond Travers.

The gorge is in the park and, while it is not generally accessible to tourists, it is the world's largest breeding ground for the Nile Crocodile, he said.

"There are thousands of them in the river," he said.

The Massingir dam was built in the 1970s but the 16-year civil war that ensued after independence from Portuguese colonialism hampered the completion of the dam, notably the installation of the sluice gates.

Was environmental impact assessment done?

Now the Mozambican government, through a $800m loan from the African Development Bank, plans to install the sluice gates and raise the height of the dam wall.

This will enable the dam to hold its full capacity of 2 800 million cubic metres of water.

The work began in 2004, and is scheduled to end in October 2006.

Travers said there was concern as to whether Mozambique had conducted an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

"We understand Mozambique needs the dam," he said. "What we are concerned about is whether an EIA was done."

The Olifants River Forum, which includes the Lepelle Water Board, Palaborwa Mining company, Kruger National Park, Sasol, Foskor and Eskom, has also raised concern about the dam project.

SA conducting its own EIA

Two major floods on the Olifants River in 1986 and 2000 clogged deep pools in the lower third of the gorge with sand.

What used to be able to accommodate hippos, is now only a shallow stream.

Spokesman for South Africa's Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), Themba Khumalo, said the department was conducting its own EIA about the effects of the bigger dam.

"Officials in our Mpumalanga office are busy carrying out the EIA," said Khumalo. He said it may take a few months to complete.

Mozambique's foreign press office spokesperson, Simao Cavele, failed to return calls after promising to look into the matter.

Courtesy http://www.news24.com

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 Post subject: Moz Dam Can Destroy Kruger River
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:44 pm 
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This is a sad prospect, EIAS must be taken!
I hope it doesnt take a turn for the worst:
www.news24.com

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:29 am 
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Sad thing is that nothing will happen ... they will cont. to build the dam ... complete it and "our" boys and girls will have to find the solution to it ...

It's issues like this that causes me to despise the human race ... only thinking about themselves. :?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:31 pm 
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Wild@Heart wrote:
Sad thing is that nothing will happen ... they will cont. to build the dam ... complete it and "our" boys and girls will have to find the solution to it ...

It's issues like this that causes me to despise the human race ... only thinking about themselves. :?


Ditto...and big dams are BAD news......very bad news....


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:34 am 
Before blasting the Mozambicans, you also have to look at the other side of the story. Why do the Mozambicans feel they need to increase the capacity of the dam? Might it be that in drought times not enough water is released from upstream in the Olifants River? Even Kruger had trouble with this.
The impact that this dam is going to have on the environment is terrible. But I believe the SA side should also be held responsible. If the Olifants River were better managed on the SA side, I believe that this could have been avoided or at least would have given better grounds for negotiations.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:53 pm 
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Hi Jumbo,

I don't believe the fault lies with the Mozambicans at all. But, much criticism has been levelled at those, usually the world bank, funding these large dams. It has been said that the money could be spent more wisely within the countries that end up with these dams;that the world bank for one, has ulterior motives that are not always to the benefit of the people. As Mozambicans cannot afford to turn down any path forward for them at this point, they cannot be blaimed for building this dam, but the fact remains that big dams are usually about big business and you and I both know big business very seldom has the wellbeing of the common man in mind.

Jay


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:31 pm 
Hi Jay
Sadly I don't think the culprits are big business - the enemy here is politics.

Real benefits to the people? Unfortunately a definite yes - and much needed.
The Olifants River is the most important tributary of the Limpopo River. During floods a higher dam wall will most definitely save lives, property etc. in Moz. But sadly this is also what is feared most by Kruger - water pushing back into the gorge.

In times of draught a bigger water reserve in the Massingir dam will give real benefit to the various irrigations schemes along the Limpopo River - including the irrigation system, the major one in the country.
In addition, it is also estimated that dam project will give electricity and irrigation to approximately 9,000 hectares of land.

Massingir is located in the Gaza province of Moz. The people living in this province are subsistence farmers. Up to a few week ago this province were experiencing a severe draught. There was media report of people dying of hunger. Some reports mentioned people eating any roots, berries and leafs they can find in the bush - this caused diarrhoea because some of these are not fit for human consumption. In this time there was no water coming into the dam from upstream and thus almost no water going out.

Now onto the politics:
The following is extracts from a proposal for a dam development in Steelpoort sub-catchments
Link

Quote:
The Massingir Dam, which is located immediately downstream of the border with South Africa on the Olifants River, was built by Mozambique in terms of an agreement
reached in 1971 between the Governments of Portugal and South Africa. The dam was not initially constructed to the full supply level stipulated in the agreement.
Mozambique is currently preparing to raise the level of Massingir Dam by 10 metres (in accordance with the 1971 agreement). Importantly, the agreement also states that the Government of Portugal realises that the water resources of the Olifants River at the boundary with Mozambique will decrease progressively and substantially in the future, as and when South Africa implements further storage in the Olifants River basin.

In addition to its physical location, the proposed development will influence a wider area, in particular, water users downstream on the lower Olifants River.


In the 1971 agreement between Portugal and SA there was no restriction placed on the water usage by SA. Now to me, this is pure politics! The SA side is now condemning the Mozambicans for raising the dam wall to the height that was agreed upon in 1971, but on the other hand, they are calling on this agreement when they want to add further storage on their side.

It is very sad that the loser in this whole political debacle is going to be the environment and that SANParks will have to sort out the aftermath.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:34 pm 
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Eish, I think we can debate this one 'til the cows come home :)
Just hope Kruger doesn't suffer too much and also hope the Mozambicans get enough water...one can hope for little miracles around Xmas time, not so?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:30 pm 
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Ran across this article this morning. :(

Quote:
Dam threatens breeding grounds of the Nile crocodile
By David Blair, in Kruger National Park


(Filed: 10/07/2006)

In the shadow of towering cliffs streaked with yellow and red, Nile crocodiles bask beside the swirling waters of Olifants gorge.

This corner of Kruger National Park, one of South Africa's premier attractions, serves as an ideal breeding ground for hundreds of crocodiles. They dig nests in sandy river banks along the eight-mile gorge, laying about 50 eggs each.

But much of this vista - and countless nests - will soon disappear under water. Thirty miles upstream in neighbouring Mozambique, work has begun on raising the Massingir dam, a project that will increase the gorge's water level by about 30ft.

At a stroke, the crocodiles will lose a major breeding ground and the natural beauty of one of Africa's most famous national parks, which attracts a million visitors every year, will be diminished.

Nile crocodiles are not facing extinction. They are found in rivers, lakes, swamps, and freshwater marshes across most of sub-Saharan Africa, the Kruger being the southern extent of their range. They appear on the world conservation union's "red list" of endangered species and trade in their hides is banned.

If Kruger, one of Africa's best protected national parks, cannot safeguard them, conservationists say their future is bleak. "Crocodiles are persecuted all over Africa," said Lawrence Anthony, the founder of the Earth Organisation ecological group. "This is one of the world's most famous protected areas. We can't afford to lose a major breeding ground. "

The Mozambican authorities did not consult Kruger about raising the dam. The park has not been officially informed when work will be finished - even though one of its safari lodges is also expected to be flooded.

Constantly growing numbers of poverty-stricken people surround every national park in Africa. Even if poaching is reduced to minimal levels, as Kruger has managed to accomplish, the wildlife can still be threatened by developments outside. When complete, the Massingir dam will provide water to tens of thousands of subsistence farmers. If the interests of human beings clash with those of Nile crocodiles and an area of outstanding beauty, the Mozambican authorities have no doubt about whose should take precedence.

The dam could be raised by a smaller amount to allow some crocodile breeding areas to survive. But nobody discussed a possible compromise with Kruger. The park authorities say there has been no cross-border co-operation and as far as they know, Mozambique did not even conduct an impact assessment.

"We understand that people over the border need water and they need help," said Raymond Travers, a spokesman for Kruger park. "We have had very good co-operation with the Mozambican side in the past but it was not forthcoming this time."


www.telegraph.co.uk


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 2:58 pm 
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Good topic ... first I've heard of this project but doing a quick bit of research shows the impact upon the gorge was already known and discussed in September last year at least and some alternatives were mentioned.

Olifants River Gorge [pdf]

I will create a couple of maps and post on my site a bit later today to allow people to become more familiar with area and history of this dam.

This topic is worthy of more discussion I think


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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:39 pm 
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The subject of Massingir Dam came up again today with an article in the UK Telegraph.
I'd personally not been aware of this Mozambican Dam project and the impact it will probably have on the world famous Olifant Gorge crocodile breeding area until the post from Texas was made by TXDrifter.
After reading the post I did a bit of research to find a couple of interesting points ... questions were raised in Parliament last year and the 8th Wildnerness Congress held in Alaska last year debated this issue.
I've created a map using Google Earth showing this area in relation to the Olifant Camp and Gorge which helps to orientate people to this potential destruction of these important breeding grounds. To see the map click here
This page also quotes the questions and answers posed in Parliament


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:29 pm 
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rooks wrote:
....
I've created a map using Google Earth showing this area in relation to the Olifant Camp and Gorge which helps to orientate people to this potential destruction of these important breeding grounds. To see the map click here
This page also quotes the questions and answers posed in Parliament


Thanks rooks. Very informative. The map is excellent for putting this in perspective.

Also ran across another article at: science.monstersandcritics

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: Massingir Dam
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:51 am 
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Sorry for bumping this very old thread, but this was the only thread I found related to the croc deaths in the Olifants. I see that this thread started out in 2005 and big concerns were being brought at that time.

Over the last couple of months, more than 150 crocs has died in the Olifant gorge and more is dying. 50/50 had a inset on this last week and I saw an article in Beeld today (will look for the English version). According to the article, some collaboration is going to happen to try and clean the water of the river. Apparently the dam downstream has had an effect on the water quality as the extra sediment that was left behind in the gorge is a result of the sluices installed (this according to 50/50). Unfortunatly I cannot find a direct link to the program on 50/50that they had about this but you can just visit their website for the video, it called "Crocs are dying" and there are two parts to it.

This is unfortunately this sum of all the information I was able to find on this topic for now. I would really appreciate it if some can keep us up-to-date on what is happening with this and/or pinning this topic maybe for easy reference so that we know what is going on with this.


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 Post subject: Re: Massingir Dam
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 10:37 am 
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After all is said & done , human interference is the root cause of the crocodile deaths .
The last 50/50 program of Monday 10 Nov indicated that fish caught further upstream also showed the yellowing of body fat seen in the crocodiles , studies are continuing .

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 Post subject: Re: Massingir Dam
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:18 am 
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I actually want to ask a uncle of mine if he can see the same symptoms in the river on his farm.
He is in the Hoedspruit area and the Olifants river flows through his farm.
It would be really interesting to know because between him and the Kruger is a lot mining activity.


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