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. ItFarmer Plowing fields in Omo Valley where the River is a vital resource 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.