China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) has been awarded a contract worth about CFA Francs 160 billion (US$ 276 million) by the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS), the Senegal River Basin Development Organisation, to develop and finance the Gourbassi hydroelectric dam on the Falémé River, on the Senegal-Malian border.
The project will comprise: a 1.4 km-long concrete and rock-filled dam with a maximum height of 30 m from the river foundation; a 700 m-long rock-filled ancillary dam to close off a saddle on the left bank of the river; a spillway with four gates; a powerplant equipped with two Kaplan units with a total installed capacity of 18 MW to generate annual output of 68 GWh under a nominal unit flow of 40 m3/s; and, a substation and overhead line to link the plant to OMVS’ grid.
In addition to electricity generation, the multi-purpose project is designed principally to regulate the water flow in the Falémé, a major tributary of the Senegal river, by providing an optimum guaranteed downstream flow for the lower Senegal River Valley of 500 m3/s. With design storage of 2.1 x 109 m3, it will also provide additional water supply for local people and for local agricultural development, as well as allow permanent navigation over 905 km, from Saint-Louis in Senegal to Ambidébi in Mali. The implementation of the project is expected to generate more than 10 000 local jobs. “We hope that this project will have a positive impact on the living conditions of the populations and the development of activities in the countries concerned,” said the OMVS.
The Gourbassi dam will be the fifth multi-purpose dam to be built by the OMVS, following the Manantali and Gouina dams in the Kayes region of Mali, the Diama dam on the Senegal river, spanning the border of Senegal and Mauritania, upstream from Saint-Louis in Senegal, and the Koukoutamba hydroelectric dam in northern Guinea. It will also be the fifth hydropower plant developed by the OMVS. The 200 MW Manantali plant on the river Bafing in Mali and the 62 MW Félou scheme on the Senegal river in Mali, were commissioned in 2002 and 2014, respectively. The 140 MW Gouina run-of-river plant, on the river Senegal, downstream of the Manantali dam, is scheduled to be completed this year, and the 294 MW Koukoutamba hydropower project in 2023.