01/09/14

Ethiopia’s Millennium Dam: Science and controversy

Ethiopian Dam 1 Lou (FILEminimizer).JPG

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    Key Facts

  • Completion of the dam is aimed for 2017
  • The total cost of the project is approximately €3.3 billion (US$4,450 billion)
  • The dam will have an average capacity of 6,000 megawatts and 15,692 gigawatt hours of annual energy
  • The Main Dam length will be 1,780 metres and will reach 145 metres high
  • The Saddle Dam length will be 4,800 metres and will reach 45 metres high

    Source: EEPCo

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, also known as the Millennium Dam, is set to play a pivotal role in the landscape of energy supply in Africa. The dam is due to be completed in 2017 and is being built in the region of Benishangul–Gumuz near the western border with Sudan. Once finished, it will power Ethiopia and provide abundant energy to the neighbouring countries, enabling industrial development and strengthening Africa’s energy independence.
 
But the project is hugely controversial and downstream countries, in particular Egypt, fear that the dam’s management may have a catastrophic impact on their water security.

SciDev.Net travelled to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to put a spotlight on the science behind the controversy and discovered how science diplomacy could provide new platforms for dialogue.
 
In preparing this article the author acknowledges input from Rehab Abd Almohsen.