Gibe III Dam
In 2006 construction of the Gibe III Hydroelectric dam began. Once complete,
it will be the largest hydro power plant in Africa and will produce 6,500 GWH a year. The dam is owned by the
Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation and is projected to be complete by the year 2012 or 2013. It
is considered to be the countries largest investment project and is expected to supply Ethiopia half of
its electricity. There is a financial benefit from the dam as well, with opportunities to export power to Djibouti,
Kenya, Sudan and other country's. The country is predicting that the export of electricity will surpass its
export of coffee.
Even with the increased power output, most households in Ethiopia will receive
limited or no electricity. The reason for this is the lack of grids in the country. Even with the
current grid expansion most households will rely on charcoal and wood. Even with the possibilities of its
financial benefits, experts foresee the dam being an economic disaster.
The dam is located about 190 miles southwest of Ethiopia's capitol Addis Ababa on
the Omo River. It will block the natural flow of the
River, causing a reduction of water flow to the southern part of Ethiopia, also known as Omo Valley. Omo
Valley is the home of the Omo National Park and the Mago National Park. The river runs between the two
parks providing them both with its invaluable resource.
The Omo River and Lake Turkana are the lifeline to an estimated 1 million
people that live in Ethiopia and Kenya. The river and the lake provide irrigation to the lower valley's
agriculture and drinking water for the people and animals. For the indigenous tribes and animals that call
Omo Valley home, disruption of the Omo River's flow is predicted to change their way of living forever.