3 February 2018

Ethiopia: Gidabo Dam Nears Fruition

Photo: Addis Fortune
Partial view of the Gidabo Irrigation Dam whose construction has reached 97pc on the Gidabo river, 376km away from Addis Abeba.

The Dam cost 1.1 billion Br and will irrigate 27,043ha of land

The Gidabo Irrigation Dam, constructed with an estimated cost of 1.1 billion Br and reaching 97pc completion, will begin operations within two months.

The Dam has a capacity of holding 63 million cubic metres of water and stands 21.2 meters tall and is 350m wide. Its initial completion was expected within two years of construction, beginning 2010 by the Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation (ECWC) formed as a result of the merger between Ethiopian Road Construction Corporation, Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise and Ethiopian Prefabricated Building Parts Production Enterprise.

"The completion period was modified after the need to redesign the Dam to fully utilise Gidabo river's potential as well as increase the Dam's capacity," according to Abdulfetah Taju, project manager of the Dam.

Aside from improving its capacity, the new design saw the addition of two channels sprawled on 1,050ha close to the Borena and Sidama zones. One channels water from the Dam to the zones in the Oromia Regional State, while the other to the Southern Nations, Nationalities & People's Regional State (SNNPR).

The Dam that will irrigate 27,043ha of land, 60pc of which lie in the former region, while the rest in the latter.

Recurrent rainfall that fills the Gidabo river, delayed relocation of the residents and a second-time soil study were some of the other reasons that deterred the project from early completion, according to Tinfu Muchie, communications head of the Corporation, mandated to construct and maintain roads, bridges, highways, dams, as well as hydropower and irrigation infrastructure.

The decision to increase the amount of land to be cultivated was also one of the causes of delay for the consultants, the Ethiopian Construction Design & Supervision Works Corporation. Geological problems were also cited by Yahyah Ahmed, consulting engineer of the Firm which was established in 2015.

Delay in construction is not exclusive to this dam, rather a problem of many, according to Biruk Abate (PhD), who has a decade of experience in civil engineering.

"Poor planning, lack of integration between owners, contractors and consultants as well as lack of finance are to be blamed for the delay," he told Fortune.

When the Dam,becomes operational, it will be the ninth to have been completed by the Corporation, with another one costing 3.7 billion Br, Rib Dam, under construction since its establishment three years ago.

Kesem Dam & Irrigation, Gidabo Dam, Megech Dam and Tendaho Clean Water Supply project are major projects executed by the Corporation that had an authorised capital of 20.3 million Br and 7.7 million Br paid-up capital.

Once the Dam starts operations, it is expected to contribute to fish production from the artificial lake that will be formed. It will also help farmers in Borena and Sidama areas become productive throughout the year cultivating different cereals, according to Abdulfeta.


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