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Home The River Basin People and the River Governance Resource Management
Resource Management
Water Demand
Water Infrastructure
 Dams and Associated Infrastructure
 Bulk Transfer Schemes
 Groundwater Services & Infrastructure
 Irrigation Infrastructure
 Operation and Maintenance of Infrastructure
 Rehabilitation and Future Development
Rehabilitation and Expansion of Existing Infrastructure
 Future Development of the Kunene Basin
 Wastewater Infrastructure
The Value of Water
Resource Monitoring
Research & Development



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Rehabilitation and Expansion of Existing Infrastructure  

With much of the existing infrastructure having been damaged or only being partially functional during the war, work has started in recent years to rehabilitate and / or update it, with almost all the work occurring in the Angolan section of the basin. Rehabilitation work is currently being undertaken on most of the major infrastructure.

Construction work at the Gove dam.
Source: Vogel 2010
( click to enlarge )

The Rehabilitation and Improvement of Existing Dams and Weirs

Three major structures directly on the river in Angola will have all been renovated and improved by the end of 2011. Two of these, the Gove Dam and the Calueque Weir, are key elements of the Kunene River Scheme, whilst the third, the Matala Weir, is important for irrigation and Hydropower Generation in Angola. The work to be carried out is summarised in the table below:

Planned Rehabilitation and Extension Work of Existing Infrastructure within the Kunene River Basin

Structure Rehabilitation and improvement work
Gove dam
  • Installation of 3 francis turbines, each with a capacity of 20.62 MW
  • Heightening of the dam
  • Rehabilitation of all drainage works
  • Treatment and strengthening of foundations
  • Installation of a monitoring system 
  • Repairs to the inlet and outlet structures and the downstream rockfill face
Matala weir
  • Installation of 3 turbines, each with a capacity pf 13.6 MW for a total capacity of 39.8 MW
  • Rehabilitation of an irrigation channel with a capacity of 5 m³/s
Calueque weir
  • Installation of turbines for an electricity production capacity of 20 MW
  • Completion of construction works and repairs of damages incurred during the war to the bridge decks, girders, abutments etc.
  • Fitting hydraulics locks, radial gates and emergency gates
  • Fitting irrigation equipment for the northern bank, with 5 pumps, each with a capacity of 6m³/s, and a 1.8m diameter pipe, 7.5 km long
  • Fitting irrigation equipment for the southern bank, with 3 pumps, each with a capacity of 4.5 m³/s , and a 1.6 m diameter pipe, 5.6 km long
  • Clearing of 100 km² of vegetation that is growing within the reservoir area
Gandjelas dam
  • Installation of a 2 MW hydroelectric plant
  • Expansion of existing irrigated areas

Source: Government of Angola, COBA, and International Rivers

Plaque to commemorate the beginning of Matala weir rehabilitation.
Source: Kellner 2010
( click to enlarge )

The Rehabilitation and Expansion of Irrigated Areas

The Kunene basin has a large and relatively untapped irrigation potential. In 2005 an estimated 42 000 ha were being irrigated with an annual water demand of around 0.37 km³/a.

With agriculture being the dominant water user in the basin, the total irrigated area within the basin along with their water requirement per hectare are decisive for the future consumptive water use of the Kunene.

Current plans for the expansion of irrigation using water from the Kunene River basin foresee a total irrigated area of over 600 000 ha by 2025. This expansion is planned mainly for the Middle Kunene, where around 595 000 ha are planned (see Irrigation Infrastructure).

Location and size of all planned irrigated perimetres across the basin in 2025.
Source: AHT GROUP AG 2010 adapated from SWECO 2005
( click to enlarge )

These schemes are targeted at small, medium and large commercial farmers and are intended to support commercial crop production and livestock farming. A range of crops are envisaged to be grown and sold in the markets: cereals (wheat, sorghum and millet), horticulture, fruits (moderate climate fruits, tropical fruits, citrus), and beans. The irrigation schemes are expected to contribute to livelihoods primarily by allowing farmers to generate cash incomes from the sale of crops and livestock.

Total Projected Irrigated Areas Drawing Water from the Kunene River in 2025

Province/Region Location Area (in hectares)
Huambo (Angola) Kalima 6 000

Huíla (Angola)
Gandjelas 1 000
Chimicua I 50
Chimicua II 60
Neves 1 300
Tundavala 830
Matala 10 000
Chicungo 400
Quipungo 200
Sendi 1 500

Kunene (Angola)
Matunto 92 800
Quiteve-Humbe 120 000
Cafu 40 200
Catembulo 187 000
Coba do Leao 104 900
Donguena 20 000
Calueque 16 000
Kunene (Namibia) Etunda 1 200
Total 602 440

Source: Adapted from SEWCO 2005

An expansion of this dimension would result in a dramatic increase in water demand for irrigation requiring over 8 km³/year to be abstracted from the Kunene for use in irrigation. This volume however should be compared to the average annual flow of the Kunene at Ruacana which is on 5 km³/year. The demand for irrigation water stands in direct competition with household consumption and electricity generation in the Lower Kunene.




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