1 February 2018

Ethiopia: GERD - Fingerprint of a New Generation

Photo: Ethiopian Herald
The Grand Renaissance Dam or GERD.

It has been almost quite a while since Ethiopia has begun grand construction on the grand Nile River. The country has been an outsider though it contributes over 85 percent to the river to which Grand Ethiopian Renascence Dam (GERD is expected to change the years of unfair utilization.

For many years Egypt has been receiving the lion's share from the Nile waters, which is over 55 billion from the available close to 88 billion cubic meters that flows down the river annually. It is still utilizing the water mostly for its irrigation development. Ethiopia, on the other hand has never been able to benefit from the river due to internal and external factors.

However, the time has come that this unfortunate reality will not remain the same for the sustainability of its multifaceted developmental progress of Ethiopia over the past two decades requires more energy. As a non-oil economy, the nation has to see different alternatives and utilize its natural resources to ensure its green development.

Meanwhile, the construction of the GERD is the greatest step that the country has made and showed the whole world that its people are capable of alleviating poverty with their own capacity. And now the seventh anniversary of the launch of the project is approaching. As the construction goes on a timely progress, the country is pinning its hope on the completion of the dam for better development.

According to Engineer Simegnew Bekele, Manager of the Project, eradicating energy poverty means eradicating poverty itself. In this case, Ethiopia has been able to achieve different hydroelectric projects.

"It is the only country that has inaugurated three hydropower dams in one year," said Simegnew adding this is an indicator that Ethiopians seek change and are committed for the achievement like the people anywhere else around the globe.

He noted that there are challenges in addressing different socioeconomic problems. And the major failure is lack of will and power or motive to face these challenges. If one is strong enough to face the challenges and appears courageous to demonstrate commitment to struggle for certain visions, success is always imminent and possible.

Ethiopians have passed through several socioeconomic and political challenges. Sacrifices were made by generations in order to keep the unity of its peoples and create the new Ethiopia that is longing for prosperity. The current generation also has its own sacrifices to make and that is being witnessed in different developmental achievements of the Country.

"GERD is one of the testimonies, which this generation is showing commitment to the construction and is still going with an absolute national spirit of ownership. This is a project which strengthened our unity. It has also demonstrated that the new generation has acknowledged the values of the sacrifices made in the past and is keeping the legacies with passion," said Simegnew.

As the construction continues, several foreign media outlets have been releasing information that contradicts with the win-win procedures that the Ethiopian government is following and the critical interests of its people.

"Such challenges could never pose threat on our strategies of construction and the progressive filling procedure we have to follow," stressed Simegnew.

The country has scientifically studied and planned the construction of the Dam in a way that could never harm the water demand of the downstream countries. "Our progressive filling strategy considers the water demand of the lower stream countries. We will stick to the calls of nature and proceed filling the dam using the advantages of our rainy season as well as considering the effects of climate change.

"Drought might happen and the water volume may decline. At that point, the filling would proceed with options that would consider the situations of every country. That is because we believe that peoples of the lower stream countries are our brothers and sisters," he noted.

Ethiopians are peoples well known for their hospitality and culture of sharing whatever best they have with others. As a result, the national policy of the country in terms of Nile is very considerate and the reflection of its peoples' unselfish culture.

"We have already admitted that poverty is our major enemy. And this mega project is one of the biggest weapons that we will deploy while combating the enemy," according to Simegnew.

When the GERD construction and filling of the reservoirs completed, it is expected to contain 75 billion cubic meters of water on the manmade lake that stretches on 1680 square kilo meters of land. The lake will also have a capacity to habituate more than ten thousand tones of fish. In this case, the existence of the Nile porch fishes is expected to play crucial role for tourist attraction, according to the Addis Ababa Coordination Office of Public Participation for the Construction of the Dam.

Beyond its energy supply, the GERD after the accomplishment of the construction is expected to contribute for the nation's tourism. There will be more than 42 islands on the lake. International standard hotels and loges will be built in cities like Assosa and Mankush. Mankush once in history has been a glorious city of kings and will be the city of tourists in a near future.

According to Eng. Simegnew, the GERD project is not only a hydro power energy for Ethiopians but it is also symbol of unity and a great success that the current generation could be proud of as the victory of Adwa. "It has made all of us one family. It is a great home to all of us," he emphasized.

Of course, there have been concrete evidences that show case how the GERD made all Ethiopians speak the same language of unity in diversity. The people have been financing the construction through different ways.

More than ten billion Birr is contributed by the public so far. Several natural resource conservation campaigns have been and are still being undertaken by the public in order to protect the Dam from siltation.

Due to the transparent procedure of the construction, more than 200, 000 Ethiopians have paid visit to the site so far and provided other fellow citizens with the right information about its progress. As a result, public participation has kept its momentum.

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