Ethiopia determined to complete dam by 2017

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A blast on the bed rock of the Blue Nile, prepares for the construction of diversion culverts. It will allow permanent flow of the river after the completion of the hydropower dam that Ethiopia is currently constructing on the Blue Nile. Heavy vehicles carry rocks and soil to fill the space created by the diversion on the river.

The target of the Ethiopian government is to build a power dam 145metres high and 1780 meters long, which at full capacity will hold 74 billion cubic meters of water, 16 units of power production and two power houses.

Upon its completion in the year 2017, The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is expected to start producing 6000MW of power. This will make it the biggest hydropower project in Africa and the seven biggest in the world.

However, at the construction goes on, Egypt, which receives water from this Blue Nile, remains concerned. Egypt says that the diversion of the main course of the river made by Ethiopia will
affect the normal flow of water into its territory. The Ethiopian government has strongly denied the claim, saying diversion is inevitable while constructing a dam on the river.

To further support its claims, the Ethiopian government is also fronting the fact that it has chosen to use Salini Costuttori, an Italian company that has the record of building 20 big dams in four continents. On March 2011, this company was awarded the 4.8 billion dollar contract, without competitive bidding.

Egypt says its concerns arise from the fact that it’s facing a water crisis as its population increases. In the 1960s, the average water share per person was 2,800 cubic meters. Now, the figure has dropped to 600 cubic meters, much below the poverty line, which is 1,000 cubic meters per
person.

The Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing through some 11 countries, including Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. It is the primary source of water for many of these countries, particularly Sudan and Egypt, whose mainly desert landmass is made fertile by the river as it flows into the Mediterranean. Egypt insists that it reserves the right to hold on to the largest share of the Nile water based on the British Nile Water Agreement of 1959.However , the other beneficiaries with the exception of Sudan have agreed to a new arrangement of using the Nile under a new forum called, the Nile Basin initiative.

Find out why Egypt condemns the Dam project. Egypt, Ethiopia Nile water dispute sparks tensions

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