Unknown to most people, Fip Motilall worked for many years researching Amaila Falls. Make no bones about this, Fip is very knowledgeable about Amaila Falls.
In 2010, I was a member of a team working with Fip to locate a route to the base of the falls. We used some existing roads, such as part of the Bartica Potaro road. I won’t bore the reader with too much detail, but other existing roads were used. Not that all the roads were existing roads. There were some new roads particularly the road leading to the base of the falls. Its 129 miles from Amaila falls to Linden where the power is to be delivered. The power will be carried in a transmission line that will run down the centre of a clearing that is 200 ft wide.
Years ago, there were no restrictions on bulldozing a 200 ft. corridor. The bulldozers pushed the trees down, then moved them to the edge of the clearing, where they were burnt. Not so today. Both the forestry department and the EPA will have their say in clearing the bush and disposing the trees. The EPA, if they do their job and not bend to the will of the Government will ask a whole lot of difficult questions, and will require an environmental impact assessment. In today’s climate this will take a long time.
TIME IS MONEY. Now for some fun and games.
Fip budgeted US$4,400,000 to build Section 7 of the Amaila Falls road. Having completed 25 percent of the work in this section (US$1,100,000) he was fired in Jan. 2012. H. N. Pasha was awarded a contract for US$4,150,000 to complete section 7. He was paid US$1,240,000 before he was fired. China Rail was awarded a contract for US$8,200,000 to finish Section 7. This is after Fip completed 25 percent of the work, which was valued at US$1.1M and H. N. Pasha was paid US$1.2M for the work he did. China rail is yet to complete Section 7. If Fip had not been fired, Section 7 would probably have been completed at a cost of US $4,400,000 and would have been finished by late 2012 or early 2013.
Up to a few days ago it seemed that it cost US$10,540,000 to build Section 7. Add it all up: US$1,100,000 to Fip, plus US$1,240,000 to Pasha, plus US$ 8,200,000 to China Rail. Now we learn that in addition to $8,200,000 that was contracted with China Rail to build Section 7, your newspaper reports that the original bid by China Rail was for $11,200,000; however, NICIL agreed that the price would be reduced to $8,200,000 provided two plots of land are transferred to China Rail. By inference these two plots of land, a one-acre plot at Liliendaal and a 7.5-acre plot at Friendship are worth US$3,000,000. So, it now seems Section 7 cost $13,540,000 to build, which is not much less than the $15,400,000 that Fip bid to build the WHOLE road, including a pontoon service connecting the road leading down to the Essequibo River opposite Butakari to Butakari on the other side of the Essequibo River, and a substantial bridge connecting the North bank to the South bank of the Kurubrong River. We must wonder what else will crawl out of the woodwork.
The most knowledgeable person in Guyana about Amaila Falls is my good friend Maurice Veecock.
Maurice indicates that during dry spells, the volume of water arriving at the powerhouse at the base of the falls decreases hence the power produced is reduced. To maintain power levels, Maurice proposes diverting water from Chi Chi Falls, which is on the Mazaruni River into the Potaro River. This will increase the volume of water reaching Kaieteur Falls. He then proposes to take water upstream of Kaieteur Falls and divert this water through a conduit into the Amaila Falls reservoir. By maintaining a sufficient volume of water in the reservoir means that a sufficient volume of water will reach the powerhouse at the base of the falls, thus power levels will be maintained.
This water flows into the Kurobrong River. A fairly constant flow of water with increased volume will therefore end up in the Kurobrong River. The Kurobrong River flows down to Tumatumari Falls. This means that the flow of water at Tumatumari Falls will increase hence not only more power, but constant power can be produced at Tumatumari.
Maurice also advocates that power from the Potaro basin should be developed. Not just from Tumatumari and Kaieteur top, but by harnessing power from all the falls in the Potaro. If my memory serves me correctly the next falls, up-stream from Kaieteur is the Queen of Diamonds falls.
Maurice can go on and on. However, this letter to the editor of Kaieteur News will now be closed.