Tanzania plans hydroelectric plant in game reserve

Critics say dam proposal would be detrimental to wildlife.
Tanzania has invited bids to construct a 2,100-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric plant at Stiegler’s Gorge in the UNESCO-designated Selous game reserve, located some 200 km south-west of Dar es Salaam.
The Tanzanian government says the proposed power plant is vital to counter the nation's chronic shortage of electricity, however conservationists say the construction of a dam on the Rufiji river would cause "irreversible damage" to wildlife living downstream.
Tanzania's energy and minerals ministry has issued a deadline of 16 October for the project whose construction it estimates would take three years, although it has not released any cost details.  The government, which is being advised by hydro-electric dam experts from Ethiopia, says the long-delayed project would more than double Tanzania's power generation capacity.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has criticised the plan, stating that the dam would risk damaging the fragile ecosystem of the 50,000-sq km game reserve, which is one of Africa's largest protected areas. The WWF also said that the project risked affecting the livelihoods of over 200,000 people who depend upon the environment.

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