Ethiopia – Government Aims to Curb Flooding as New Dams Planned

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The Ethiopian Government is seeking to mitigate severe effects of recurrent flooding with the planned construction of news dams.

The Awash Basin Authority of Water Resources, Irrigation and Energy Ministry plans to construct two more dams at a cost of 11.7 billion Birr in Afar regional state. The decision to build the dams comes just a few months after flash floods displaced tens of thousands of people in Africa’s third most populous country.

Close to 194,000 people were displaced by Belg rainy season flooding according to top commissioner at National Disaster Risk Management Agency, Mitiku Kassa.

The Ethiopian Government finalized preparations – including feasibility studies such as geotechnical investigation, hydrology study, agronomy as well as topographic surveys of the dam site and reservoir area, amongst others – to construct the two dams that will provide sustainable protection once completed.

The dams are said to be part of the Second Growth and Transformation Plan as the government tries to build carbon resilient and environment friendly economy, and will be constructed in areas near to Awash town, 223km northeast of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Of the two dams, one will have a capacity to hold 470 million cubic meters of water will be constructed in Awash-Fentale Woreda, while the other dam is to be constructed across Logia River, a downstream major tributary of the Awash River which flows southwards. Both will sustainably help prevent flooding between Awash Sebat town and Afar Gewane Woreda and Lower Middle Awash.

Moreover, the flood control structures are expected to irrigate a total of 50,000 hectares of land and spur fishery development.

In July this year, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) praised Ethiopia for successfully handling adverse effects of flooding caused by the Climate Change.

Owing to regular monitoring and forecasting by Ethiopian National Meteorological Agency, the main Kiremt rainy season from June through September last month had been favourable despite flash and river floods in some areas.

Floods in Ethiopia, 2006. Photo: Andrew Heavens / Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Floods in Ethiopia, 2006. Photo: Andrew Heavens / Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0