The construction of Muvumba multi-purpose dam could start in June next year, project developers have promised.The dam construction project, which is one and the main components of the Muvumba Multipurpose Water Resources Development Program, whose design started in 2015 is yet to mature due to different setbacks including a lack of financing and the upgrading of dam designs.Now, according to Rwanda Water Resources Board (RWB), the program has got a loan of €121.5 million from the African Development Bank (AFDB).The New Times has learnt that, last month, the African Development Bank (AfDB) technical team visited Rwanda to discuss reviewing the programme, implementation progress, addressing any outstanding issues, and agreeing on the way forward.Yared Michael, the Coordinator for Muvumba Multipurpose Water Resources Development project, said that the construction of the dam could start in the middle of next year since the procurement processes are ongoing, after completing designs revision.“The design review was supposed to take eight months but it lasted one year from July 2021 to July 2022 because there was a substantial design change made,” he said.Initially, the Muvumba multipurpose dam project was expected to be 30.5 meters high and store 35 million cubic meters of water for irrigation on 7, 380 ha to cope with drought and water for domestic and livestock purposes in Nyagatare district.The project will also generate electricity.However, after reviewing the designs, the capacity of the dam was increased.The dam height has increased to 39.5m and the reservoir to 55 million cubic meters.The hydropower plant is expected to generate 6.94 GWh annually, an increase from 5.72 GWh.The dam was envisaged to supply about 24,000 cubic meters per day of water but after design upgrading, this has increased to 50,000 cubic meters per day to the population in Nyagatare District in addition to livestock use.The irrigation capacity of the reservoir has increased from 7, 388 hectares to 10, 320 hectares, including the existing 1, 500 hectares irrigation scheme called M-8 which is found at downstream of the dam.The irrigation scheme covers Tabagwe, Gatunda, Karama, Rukomo, Nyagatare, Rwempasha, Musheri and Rwimiyaga sectors.“ The reservoir lake that will be created would also be used for fishery development” he said.“Since July 2022, after completing the design review, we started the procurement process to seek a contractor,” he said.He said the procurement has to be conducted in two phases including pre-qualification and after qualification.“Pre-qualification phase will end in December this year. By June next year, construction could start after securing the contractor,” he said.Asked about the number of bidders for the dam construction, he said, “There are many,” without disclosing the number and further added that with the initial design, expropriation had been completed.However, based on the reviewed and upgraded design, he said there is additional expropriation work currently undergoing.“The upgraded dam and reservoir require new land in addition to that expropriated previously, ” he said.He said 260 jobs on average could be created by the construction project annually.“The project will be completed by 2027 if it goes well,” he said.Dry spells bite farmers as water supply projects stallGahiga Gashumba, Chairperson of Nyagatare Dairy Farmers’ Union with 3,325 livestock keepers told The New Times that their milk production usually declines by about 70 per cent because of drought.“We have learnt that the project has a component to supply water to livestock keepers. This is timely because we were losing 70 per cent of milk production due to a lack of water for our cows. We also need water for irrigating forage in pastures,” he said.He said that a small hydropower is also needed to power milking machines.“If you have 300 cows you need milking machines,” he said.He said the project should help increase milk production to supply the awaited milk powder plant that is under construction in Nyagatare District.Inyange Industries is setting up a Rwf30 billion powdered milk factory in Nyagatare District that will require 500,000 litres or 500 tonnes of milk per day or 180,000 tonnes per year. It will have an annual capacity to produce 14,000 tonnes or 14 million kilogrammes of milk powder and 5,460 tonnes of fat.