Bumbuna Hydropower Project, Sierra Leone

Bumbuna Hydropower Project, Sierra Leone

Bumbuna, Sierra Leone

Project facts

Project Type: Bumbuna Hydropower Project

Commissioning date: 1994

Construction of this project in the northern part of Sierra Leone had already started and the building of the dam was almost completed when a request was made for partial financing of the project by the World Bank. Prior to taking a decision, the Bank needed an environmental impact assessment (EIA), including a social impact assessment for verifying if the project was in line with World Bank standards and guidelines.

A comprehensive EIA was made for the project. Since almost no natural habitats were left in the project area, impacts on these were not very important. The main topic was the potential impact on the local human population. One additional important aspect was watershed management. This is necessary because of the generally quite-marked overuse of soils in the project area, and the resulting heavy erosion.

The river valley that will be submerged by the reservoir is rather narrow and steep. For this reason, only one village would be partly submerged by impoundment, while the others are all on higher ground. However, cultivated land would be lost. For this, compensation had to be found. Since land is not individually owned, but belongs to the community, the compensation mechanism had to be defined in co-operation with them.