Amaila Falls dries up – new doubts about feasability

Amaila Falls dries up – new doubts about feasability

OCTOBER 11, 2013 | BY  |

Story and more photos  to follow

The Amaila Falls which was intended to supply the nation with 165 megawatts of electricity and save Guyana millions of US dollars is bone dry.
Yesterday, Works Minister Robeson Benn, said that it is not unusual for waterfalls used to provide hydroelectricity to run dry. He pointed to power stations in Suriname and in Brazil.

He said that when the contractors would have built a dam that would have stored water to smoothen the flow regime. The dam would have given rise to a reservoir which would have been used to regulate the flow of water for the hydro, said Minister Benn.

He said that in times of heavy rainfall the excess water would have been released through gates. He was insistent that had there been a dam the extent of dryness at this time would not have been as severe.    

The hydroelectric facility was being constructed at a whopping US860 million. This dry spell revealed that Guyana could not have depended on the hydro for a continuous supply of power.
Minister Benn said that the engines currently in use by Guyana Power and Light would have been kept to provide a back up. The smaller engines would have been distributed to places like Mahdia and Port Kaituma and some Berbice locations where electricity is generated for no more than four hours a day.

But if indeed that were to be the case then whenever the falls runs dry the nation would have experienced severe power outages
Amaila would certainly not have been worth the money spent to build it.

The needless problems with Amaila


Certainly the most talked about thing at this time is the Amaila Falls project. For the first time we are seeing so many challenges to what the nation originally took for granted. It also exposed the extent to which the government went to ignore legitimate queries from the people who must pay for all these things.

Today, the Amaila Falls is bone dry, casting doubts about the feasibility of the hydroelectric project.
From as far back as 1999 there was talk about this new hydroelectric project. There were meetings in Prime Minister Sam Hinds’s office with the then proposers of the project. Ever since then there was controversy. Fip Motilall came with a proposal to construct the hydroelectric project and to sell the current to the Guyana Government.
The project sounded good because Motilall promised to bring in all the necessary funding. In 2001 he returned with some supposed Canadian financiers and once more the government seemed inclined to support the project. On the basis of his plans the government sold him the rights to the project which should have delivered power by 2005.
That Mr Motilall sold his rights to Sithe Global to continue the project is not in the interest of the public. What is of interest is the fact that Guyana now seems to be saddled with the cost of the project. This fact is the major bone of contention. The government must support large loans to the point that the taxpayers would be responsible for the lifetime of their grandchildren and probably, their great grandchildren.
Meanwhile Motilall is about US$10 million richer for merely selling a national asset to a foreign entity. The Guyana Government gave Motilall something for nothing and must now pay Motilall for that which it gave away.  The argument may be that Sithe Global is paying Motilall but Sithe Global is affixing that payment cost to its bill to the government.
But the government went even further to indebt the nation to Motilall. In fact, this is even worse than paying for what it once gave away. It awarded a road building contract to Motilall despite the pleas and admonitions of the nation. Motilall had no road-building experience but people like Winston Brassington insisted that Motilall was qualified and that he could finish the work at a cost of US$15.4 million.
We now see that the road is going to cost twice as much; that Motilall was overpaid; and that long after his agreed completion date he finished a mere 28 per cent of the work.  The added money now being spent to complete the road is being added to the project cost. The taxpayers must pay for a decision that Brassington and the administration took, knowing that it was a reckless decision.
There is another thing that seems to be a worrying factor; each day the project is becoming more expensive. But that need not have been the case. If the contractors were serious then they should have already signed on and the project cost would have been fixed.
But there is more to all this. If Sithe Global is bent on having the project and the Chinese are willing to make the money available then why should Guyana have to pay risk insurance? They are the people taking the risk and should be responsible for any such cost. Instead, this insurance is being affixed to the cost of the project and the taxpayers must bear it.
It goes without saying that the nation needs hydro power but what the nation seems not ready to accept is the cost burden. The cost without all the trimmings, some contrived by the government and the perceived desire to help friends and comrades as was the case of Fip Motilall and the road contract, then the project would have been much cheaper.
And it is the cost that had people complaining. Now they have another look at the project, one that the government never presented to the people—a hydro project without water.

Dried up Amaila Falls vindicates opposition stance on project

FULL STORY | |– David Granger – October 14, 2013

The graphic image of a dried up Amaila Falls and Kuribrong River, vindicates the position held by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) that the proposed 165MW project was badly conceived in the first place. Leader of the… [more.]

Dried up Amaila Falls…Proposed reservoir would hold water for only 26 days of generation —Vieira

FULL STORY | October 15, 2013

Public Works Minister, Robeson Benn, has defended the use of the Amaila Falls location for the 165MW hydroelectric plant in the face of a damning image of the dried out location by saying that the plan is to build a reservoir. The proposed reservoir… […]


On Amaila drought…Guyana never told it would be reduced to a trickle-Nagamootoo

FULL STORY | October 15, 2013

Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Change (AFC), Moses Nagamootoo, believes that the recent graphic publication of a dried up Amaila Falls, illustrates that the ruling regime had been duped and in turn, it bamboozled the people of Guyana… […]

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  • Deen  On 10/14/2013 at 3:05 am

    Idiots! The Guyana Government is blessed with them.
    Guyana appears to be a haven for corruption and con artists.

  • Thinker  On 10/14/2013 at 6:14 am

    Which power stations in Surinam and Brazil is Minister Benn talking about? An internet search for such waterfalls running dry shows the famous (temporary) Niagara Falls cases. Where did the Minister get his information? Is this an attempt to fool Guyanese?

  • Michael Gilkes  On 10/15/2013 at 8:39 am

    If we continue to ignore the pollution and despoiling of the interior by those who destroy the natural environment to get rich even Kaieteur will dry up.

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