Govt. eyes grant financing for $110 million dam

The proposed Alaoa Multi-Purpose Dam is set to cost $110million but the Government is hoping to secure $80 million at least as grant financing.

The goal was confirmed by the Electric Power Corporation’s (EPC) Project Manager, Fonoti Perelini Perelini, during public consultations held during the past weeks with villages that are likely to be affected by the project.

Fonoti said EPC and their Government partners are working to liaise with donors and Samoa’s development partners to solicit financing for the project.

“Our wish is to escape from loaning,” he said. “So if we can be lucky enough to get a $110million, then we’re good to go.”

Fonoti and EPC’s General Manager, Tologata Tile Tuimalealiifano, have been leading a team during the consultations with residents in the Vaimauga area. The consultations cover Magiagi, Alaoa, Apia, Vailima, Tanugamanono, Lelata,  Maagao,  Maluafou, Fa’atoia,  Malifa,  Matautu,  Vaiala,  Apia Park and Moata’a.

EPC says the Alaoa Dam is proposed to combat flooding in the Vaisigano River.

They say the dam would provide a buffer that would prevent the river from flooding, protecting the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of people in the downstream areas of the region. 

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But the benefits of the dam would go beyond flood mitigation, the Corporation says. It would also improve the reliability of the seasonal water supply to Apia and neighbouring villages during dry periods. 

And it would also provide the island with much-needed, renewable power generation through a run-of-river small hydropower plant that could provide clean, reliable power to many thousands of people in Apia.

The process is being led by the Government of Samoa through EPC, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Samoa Water Authority (SWA).

During the consultations, many villages have expressed support for the project.

Fonoti explained that they will install sirens to alarm the public if something goes wrong with the dam. 

“There will be different levels of warning from the sirens and sirens will inform us if there will be any movements inside the dam,” he explained.

The preparations is expected to take a couple of years, comprising of engineering, scientist examinations, land measurements, consultations, examining the strength of the dam using technological methods, and deciding on whether the project is viable.

The second stage involves the design. The final process is the construction phase.

If approved, the dam will have the financial and technical backing of the Asian Development Bank and other development partners.

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