29 May 2013

Ethiopia: Blue Nile Diversion Allows Dam Construction to Continue

Photo: http://africanarguments.org
Artist's impression of the Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

The diversion of the course of Abay (Blue Nile) River took place on Tuesday (May 28th) to make way for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The river will return to its natural course after the completion of the dam's construction. Speaking at a ceremony at the site in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, the President of the GERD Construction Public Coordination Council, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, said the diversion of the River has been entirely successful.

Water and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu, noted that the construction of the Dam was being carried out in such a way that it maintained the mutual benefit of the Nile basin countries. He said the development would enhance cooperation and economic integration and would not cause any damage to the lower riparian countries. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, Mihret Debebe, said energy projects such as the GERD were very essential for developing countries like Ethiopia to deal with the growing energy demand. He said the Government aimed to generate up to 8,000 MW of energy by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan in 2015. Over 20% of the Dam has now been constructed. It will have an installed capacity of 6,000 MW at completion and a storage capacity of 74 billion cubic meters of water.

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