Amen Teferi 03-15-17
Ethiopia has abundant water resources, yet it has repeatedly suffered from drought and the aridity of much of its land. Very little has been done to date in harnessing the country’s water resources as engines to propel national economic and social development and these resources are yet to contribute more than a fraction of their potential to achieving the national economic and social development goals.
Ethiopia is naturally endowed with water resources that could easily fulfill its domestic requirements for irrigation and hydropower, if sufficient financial resources can be made available. Ethiopia has the potential to generate 50,000 MW from hydropower, 1.3 million MW from wind and more than 10,000 MW of geothermal energy.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has begun to take systematic measures towards a more fruitful utilization of the country's water resources. The Federal Government published the Ethiopian Water Resources Management Policy in 1999 as an essential national policy document to steer the development and management of the country’s water resources.
This was followed by the preparation of a National Water Strategy providing a roadmap to translate the policy into action. Last in the series was the preparation of Water Sector Development Program (WSDP). It defines concrete interventions in terms of projects and programs to achieve the water policy objectives, using the guidelines set under the national strategy.
The Genale Dawa III dam is part of the ten years Water Sector Development Program of the country that envisioned constructing the mega hydropower project. The nation is suffering from chronic power shortages and thus government plans to meet future needs with the construction of several mega-dams within 10 years. The Genale Dawa III dam is part of the ten years Water Sector Development Program of the country that envisioned constructing the mega hydropower project.
Launched six years ago, now the construction of spillway, powerhouse, and a 12.4 km tunnel is completed. The Genale Dawa III dam will contribute 254 MW to the national grid. The Genale Dawa III is a 110 meter high and 426 meters long. The Genale Dawa III hydropower dam has the capacity to hold 2.57 billion cubic meters of water and generate 254MW.
The Genale-Dawa III Dam will regulate river flows downstream to the Genale-Dawa V project and Genale-Dawa VI, ensuring that the river will become a reliable power source. Genale-Dawa III Dam is expected to boost an increase in energy exports to neighboring Kenya.
Now Genale Dawa III dam is near completion. This project on the Genale-Dawa River is built at a cost of $451mn and it will raise the country's electricity installed generating capacity to 4,541MW.
Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity minister, Dr Sileshi Bekele, recently announced that the project is 91 per cent completed and the electrical and mechanical works which allow the dam to generate power are progressing well. The construction of a spillway, powerhouse, a 12.4 km tunnel are among the works that have been finished, said the minister.
Genale Dawa III Hydroelectric Project is one of the largest hydropower dam projects currently being undertaken by Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP). It is being designed and constructed by the Chinese Corporation, CGGC with MWH undertaking the role of Owner’s Engineer.
Ethiopia is currently pushing to grow its economy and improve the living standards of its population by developing its large potential for hydropower to drive an increase in trade and industry and provide electricity to rural communities. Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) is set to erect two hydro-electric dams on the Genale-Dawa and Dabus rivers. Upon completion, they will have a 672mw combined energy generation capacity. This will be a sizeable contribution to the existing 5,000mw circulating in the national grid.
The Ethiopian government has prepared the “Genale-Dawa River Basin Integrated Resources Development master Plan.” The master plan which would contribute to the sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Genale Dawa River Basin and which makes optimum use of all natural, physical, human and animal resources with minimum possible adverse environmental impact.
The Genale Dawa River is a perennial river in southeastern Ethiopia. Rising in the mountains east of Aleta Wendo, the Ganale flows south and east to join with the Dawa at the border with Somalia to become the Jubba.
The Genale has a total length of 858 km of which 480 km are inside Ethiopia. Genale Dawa River is historically important because it served as the boundary between Sidamo and Bale provinces. The confluence of the Genale Doria with the Dawa is notable as the starting point for the boundary between Ethiopia and Kenya to the west, and the starting point for the boundary between Ethiopia and Somalia to the east.