Construction of the Midlands dam in Mauritius, which was due to start this spring, will be slightly delayed. German firm lahmeyer International was appointed by the government of Mauritius in February 1997 for the planning and construction supervision of the 30m-high structure. Gerhard Eickmann from Lahmeyer said that tender documents were ready to be distributed to the companies which had pre-qualified for the work. However, he added, optimistic estimates mean that construction work will not start before the autumn of this year.

The Midlands dam is situated in the central highlands of the island state and will utilise the catchment area which has an average annual rainfall of 4000mm. (Even for a tropical island such as Mauritius this is a substantial amount of rain.) Water will flow from the Midlands reservoir into an existing conveyance system which leads through a 27km-long canal to the La Nicolière reservoir. This will serve consumers in the northern area of the island. Lahmeyer said that the conveyance system will need to be upgraded and rehabilitated to cope with the increased water flow, and this work will be carried out independently of the Midlands dam project.

Over the years Mauritius has become a popular tourist resort which has led to an increased demand for water. The 2.5km-long Midlands dam will impound a 25M m3 capacity reservoir, helping to alleviate the problem.