AfDB approves $26 million loan to help increase water storage in Seychelles
The La Gogue dam, Seychelles main reservoir built in 1976 (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has secured necessary funding from the African Development Bank to implement a project that is expected to boost the Indian Ocean archipelago’s water supply.
The sum of over $20 million has been approved by the financial institution’s board to finance the project which falls under the Seychelles’ 2008-2030 Water Development Plan.
The money will go mainly towards raising the level of the main reservoir, the La Gogue dam, which supplies water to the population on the main island of Mahé and the building of a central water treatment plant to supply water for residents of the northern region of the island.
According to a press statement issued by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) the Mahé Sustainable Water Augmentation Project was approved by the institution’s board on April 1.
“The funding comprises US$ 20.60 million ADB loan and US$ 1.40 million grant from the Middle-Income Country Technical Assistance Fund. The Seychelles government will provide the remaining US$ 3.995 million,” reads the statement.
January is the peak of the rainy season in Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, which records an average annual rainfall of 2,200 millimetres.
However, water shortage is quite common as the archipelago’s Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) enforces water restrictions during the dry season when the southeast trade winds kick in, from May till September.
Changing weather patterns over the years have seen the dry spells lasting longer, which coupled with an increase in the number of households and development, notably in tourism, has increased demand for water.
The newly approved loan will be used to raise the level of the La Gogue dam by six metres hence increasing its capacity by 60 percent.
The reservoir built around 1976 in the northern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé can presently hold one million cubic metres of water.
Speaking to SNA, the Chief Executive of PUC, Philip Morin said this along with the new water treatment plant will help to ensure sufficient water supply for the northern region.
"What remains to be done is for the consultant to finalize the detailed drawings for the raising of the dam…from there we will then tender out the project,” he said.
According to Morin, work is expected to start by the end of 2016 or early 2017.
"Building a reservoir is quite complex. We need to ensure that this project is carried out with the utmost professionalism."
At the moment, the island nation also relies on several desalination plants installed across the country for the supply of water.
Limited storage, as well as water losses along the network, currently means the country can only meet 60 percent of its water needs. It is expected that demand for the scarce resource on the main island of Mahe only is expected to rise by 130 percent by 2030.