Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE) said concerted efforts are underway to complete the Gibe III dam project on schedule.
With a view to obtaining first hand appraisal of the project, government officials and stakeholders spearheaded by Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of MoWE, this week paid a field visit to the project site in the SNNP region.
“Our aim is to accomplish the project on schedule with no delay,” Alemayehu said expressing satisfaction with the pace of the 1,870 megawatt hydropower project.
The Minister hailed efforts of the over 4,000 workers engaged in the over two billion dollars project and guaranteed the unreserved support of the government.
According to MoWE, 46 per cent of the project, which also include a transmission line to Gibe II and Addis Ababa, is now completed. The Ministry expects the dam to be finalized in two years.
“We are 18 centimeters away from completing the tunnel which will take the water to the powerhouse,” Alemayehu said. He said concrete filling for the 143 meter high dam with a capacity to hold 14.7 million cubic meters of water will commence this month.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee recently called for a halt of all construction on the Gibe III dam alleging environmental concerns.
The Minister dismissed the committee’s statement.
“This is baseless,” Alemayehu said. “The environmental impact assessment conducted on the project shows that the dam will ensure more benefit to the community by regulating the water flow to Lake Turkana”.
Meheret Debebe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), who also took part in the field visit reiterated the overall benefit of the dam.
“The Gibe III dam is clean from any sort of environmental impact and we have findings of various international consultants to prove that,” Meheret said.
The CEO said such findings have been sent to the United Nations (UN) and UNESCo.
Gibe III dam will be a major boost for the government’s GTP target of increasing power generation to 10,000 megawatts from the current 2,000.
The country in April announced the launching of a mega 5,250 megawatts hydropower project dubbed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River.