By ABCafrica reporter
A statement by China’s Sinohydro, contractors for the Karuma power dam, says the draft tube, a key installation on Karuma dam, is a specialized pipe through which water flows after running the turbine blades. The draft tube is therefore a major component in a hydro power station, its installation a worthy milestone. Karuma Hydro power station shall be fitted with six (6) generating units (turbines) which mean six draft tubes. All the six have been installed. Each draft tube weighs approximately 68,000Kg. “This is a case of extreme engineering,” said Sinohydro project manager Deng Changyi, adding “work on the draft tube involved assembling several steel units by precise welding.”
Supervised by Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) on behalf of the Government of Uganda and built by China’s Sinohydro Corporation, the Karuma hydro power project commencement date was December 16, 2013 and planned for 60 calendar months.
“Progress of works at the Dam and associated works was slow during the 2017 second quarter, partly due to the defects (i.e. cracks at the Stilling Basin) identified in the concrete works which necessitated detailed investigation and monitoring,” said Dr. Eng. Harrison E. Mutikanga, the Chief Executive officer UEGCL.
According to Sinohydro, the next major installation is the spiral casing for all the six units. The spiral casing is another passage, spiral in shape that guides water into the turbine chamber to facilitate movement. “So far, the first unit of the spiral case has been assembled and the second unit is also nearing completion. We will start the installation of first unit of the spiral case within the coming week,” Deng said. Once complete, the Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station shall have an installed generation capacity of 600 Megawatts with transmission lines running from Karuma to Kawanda, near Kampala; Karuma to Olwiyo on Pakwach road and Karuma to Lira. As part of the project corporate social foot print, two hospitals and a school are envisaged.