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Ethiopian Dam Civil Engineering Work Set to Conclude this Ethiopian Year

Ethiopian Dam completion
GERD project workers (Photo: newarab.com)

borkena

Ethiopia is in the final stages of completing the civil engineering aspect of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project within this Ethiopian year.

Ethiopia’s President, Sahle-Work Zewde, discussed this development during her address at the joint session of the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the House of Federation on Monday, where she presented the government’s plan for the year.

The President, while highlighting the successful completion of the fourth round of filling and over 90 percent of the construction work, stated, “It is anticipated that the civil engineering work for the Abbay Dam will be finished this year, [according to the Ethiopian calendar].” Her speech came at the conclusion of the first month of the Ethiopian Calendar.

She added, “The Dam is not just a electric power generator; it is also  tourism, water resource , environmental conservation, and a source of moral superiority.”

The fourth filling of the dam was completed just before Ethiopia’s New Year in early September 2023. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed posted a cryptic message on social media, saying that the fourth filling was the final one. Implied in his message was that there will no more be another round of filling.  This led to confusion among Ethiopian activists  on social media who read his message. However, no official explanation was provided by his office. 

The confusion stemmed from the fact that after the fourth filling, the dam held only about 42 billion cubic meters of water, a significant shortfall from the initially announced capacity of 74 billion cubic meters. Ethiopians are awaiting further fillings to bring the water levels in line with the original plan.

Many Ethiopians were also concerned when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had a meeting with Egyptian President Al-Sisi in Cairo a few months before the completion of the fourth filling. An agreement was reportedly reached  but no details of it was available to the public. Additionally, the negotiation process for GERD shifted away from the African Union platform, with the United Arab Emirates, whose leader is believed to have a close relationship with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, emerging as a mediator – but unofficially.

A negotiation took place in Addis Ababa between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan following the fourth filling between September 23 and 24. The two-day intensive talks concluded without an agreement, with Ethiopia attributing the failure to Egypt. The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “Egypt’s persistent adherence to a colonial-era treaty, monopolistic utilization, and self-claimed ‘water quota’ hindered successful negotiations.” There remained some lack of clarity, as it was mentioned that the negotiations focused on ‘the first filling of the dam and annual operation’ despite the completion of the fourth filling.

President Sahle-Work’s speech did not address these lingering uncertainties.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a massive hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile River which is known in Ethiopia as Abbay river. It is one of Africa’s largest infrastructure projects and has been under construction since 2011. When completed, the dam was expected to have a total capacity of around 6,450 megawatts, making it a significant source of electricity for Ethiopia and neighboring countries. Now Abiy Ahmed’s government has made changes to that as the number of turbines to be installed are downsized to 13 from 16.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. This dam has been in the works since 2011 and gone through various phases of construction. The river was rerouted to facilitate the concrete work and has been filled 4 times. During and after all this building process not a single spoonful of water was taken away from the flow of the river. Are those black folks geniuses or what? No, they are more than geniuses! They are so generous in sharing what they with everyone in the hood all the way to deltas in Alexandria. Generosity is in their DNA. What else should be expected from the people whose children were the first ones to accept both major religions of the world, Christianity and Islam? Now you know why I have been beyond-repair-all-lost-cause Afro-Ethio-Centric. I mean total junkie!!! Okay bigots! If you don’t like that, go and jump in a lake and don’t you dare come up!!! Stay there and we will send you Lucifer to keep you company for life in smoldering hell down there!!!!!

  2. It is encouraging to hear that the “civil engineering work” on Abbay Dam is soon to be completed.

    But yet, on the same day (about 4 hours earlier) “Borkena ” posted a depressing News with the title: 
     “Amhara Region Faces Worsening Drought in December, Warns Disaster Prevention Commission ”.(Though the title of the report mentions one zone, the body of the report shows there are other zones affected by drought… and is wide spread).

    Link:  

    borkena.com/2023/10/09/ethiopia-amhara-drought-faces-worsening-drought-in-december-warns-disaster-prevention-commission/

    The contradiction in these two reports is so “on-your-face” indicating the lack of coordination between the various government agencies  (from Aid, development , education, etc. mentioned within the report) that are connected to the issues in one way or another, directly or indirectly but are working in their single-line responsibilities rather than collaborating in finding a combined-long-term-solution. 

    Wouldn’t it be logical to think, the ongoing civil engineering work on the Dam is not limited to the actual Dam site itself, but includes the entirety of the river that feeds the Dam? Meaning these areas that affected by drought right through the entire path of this river and other rivers such as the Tekeze River Basin require various “civil engineering work” in creating a cascade of man-made lakes that fill gradually during the rainy-season, one after another throughout the chain of populated areas, to create a culture of water self-sufficiency in those drought-affected areas instead of perpetuating a culture of reliance on AID? (which we learnt in recent reporting’s that some unscrupulous people in the system see “AID” as a business, which they do not wish to see go.)

    I must tell you and or you could do some research , (1) the AID grains are 100% GMO (2) some of the areas where these crops come from are contaminated with “depleted-uranium” and other industrial waste chemicals found in them and was listed in some Eu reports( Places like Poland refused to accept Ukraine crops for the same reasons, even though they are meant for animal-feed in EU )

    I think we need to develop a culture of long-term-wider-view projections in our developmental journey rather than a  drip drip, or a constipated one.

    There are many reasons why Ethiopia ( Africa in general) is suffering from food, water, & shelter issues, while having abundant water resources and arable land, and conditions to grow food several times a year, we tend to rely on Aid from the Northern nations that are covered with Snow for 6 months out of 12, and can only harvest once a year.

    There needs to be deeper soul searching, and developing an attitude of  “yes we can ”, and roll up our sleeves and lead the way for the wider population to follow suit and work to be self-sufficient. If Asian farmers can turn sharp Mountain slopes into a cascade of fertile & prosperous farm lands, there is no reason Africa can not be turned into the fruit & breadbasket of North Africa and the Middle East if not the rest of the world.  

    After nearly 30 years in power and looting wealth from the rest of Ethiopian regions, TPLF run Tigray province should not be a place where people are starving to death. We still have a lot of work to do and for administration purposes the civil engineering at the dam may be ending soon, but the work on the length of the river(s) must begin to provide several spillways that feed man-made lakes as needed in the drought affected areas in the country, even in places where water-pumps are needed to reach higher grounds.

    Most of the water conservation work needed in most parts of Ethiopia are not resource-intensive, some can be made by organizing the local population for a weekend outing  project gathering rocks and building a simple water barrier.   ( “Ye tanan leege weha temaw”, should be made into an old  12 century story).     

    The last part of my comment is directed  at the editorial team of “Borkena” as well as all the Ethiopian local-news YT reporters of the “modern era”, mirroring CNN and MSM in general is not journalism. These entities are no longer “News Reporting Media”, they have been turned by their business owners into a politically-connected  “advertising- (opinion forming) agencies”, nothing they say is “news”, it is an AD by a higher bidder. 

    As you have reported several times in the last 30 or so days about the “4th and final” repeatedly exaggerating what it means and this and that, is not reporting, it is spreading confusion where none exist.  ( Unless you are paid to formulate Public-opinion, by some interest.   For example, Egypt paid Trump $10 million to help settle the GERD talks (which he initiated in 2018 or so) in Egypt’s favor, which our negotiators walked out from, to never return.) .
    Your reporting above indicates:
    (a) the total water in the dam is 42 bcm, out of the total 74 bcm when complete.
    (b) from the initial planned 16 turbines was  reduced to 13 larger turbines where the total electricity generated would be the same amount and would help: (1) reduced cost, (2) amount of time needed  (3) additional material required (for the 3 turbines that are no longer in the final plan.) 

    If you dig a bit deeper, you will find that the 5 turbines in the picture in the report, (and the other 6 on the other side) are under the current water level or very close to it… which the term “4th and final filling” coined, say as the first “Milestone”.  So, there is nothing  hidden here, the dam is half way full and the work continues till the maximum height is reached. The “foundation” for the stated height and capacity has already been done, all that is left is adding more cement & iron work.

    Look closely in the following video below, @ 1:40 you would see all the remaining 11 turbines that are not yet generating electricity are way under the water level in June 2023 (before the last & 4th filling in question). Which means the water level at the current time is way above all the 13 turbines; which qualifies the milestone term the PM used “the final filling” (that is required to generate electricity is achieved).  But that does not imply as you, insinuate the end of the dam building in any way.

    Link:

    youtube.com/watch?v=vUlm6TcfRQw&ab_channel=Displore

    Unconfuse yourselves.
    One less confused in our mix means, we are heading in the right direction

    Be well.

  3. Make that: They are so generous in sharing what they have with everyone in the hood all the way to the deltas in Alexandria.

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