Ethiopia is building one of the largest dams in the world, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) formerly known as Millennium Dam and sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam, on the River Nile near the Sudan border. Let's see some of the major facts about the Dam.
1-Location: The dam is being built on the Blue Nile River in North western Ethiopia, a few Kilometers from the Ethio– Sudan common border, in Benishangul/Gumuz Regional State, Metekel zone, Buamza Kebele, between Lebeyate and Negro mountains. The project is located approximately 500 km north west of the capital Addis Ababa
2-Area Coverage-The dam will flood 1,680 square kilometers of forest in northwest Ethiopia.
3-Reservoir Size: Holds about 74 bn cubic meters of water.
4-Projected Capacity-The project’s projected electricity capacity more than 6,000MW and when completed it will have an estimated production of 15,000 GWh per year.
5-Dam size: 145m high and 1,708m long
6-Dam Cost: US$4.8bn (equal to about 15% of Ethiopia’s GDP in 2012, and about 60% of the annual budget).
7-Site Identification-The eventual site for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was identified by the United States Bureau of Reclamation during a Blue Nile survey conducted between 1956 and 1964.
8-Site Survey-The Ethiopian Government surveyed the site in October 2009 and August 2010. In November 2010, a design for the dam was submitted.
9-Publicity-On 31 March 2011, a day after the project was made public, a US$4.8 billion contract was awarded without competitive bidding to Salini Costruttori and the dam's foundation stone was laid on 02 April 2011 by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
10-Initial Name-The dam was originally called "Project X", and after its contract was announced it was called the Millennium Dam.
11- Renaming-On 15 April 2011, the Council of Ministers renamed it Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
12-Fund Source-The dam is being funded by government bonds and private donations.
13-Contractors-The main contractor is the Italian company Salini Costruttori,and other local contractors.
14-Benefits-A major benefit of the dam will be hydropower production. The electricity to be produced by the hydropower plant is to be sold in Ethiopia and to neighboring countries including Sudan and possibly Egypt.
15-Job Opportunities-It is expected to create up to 12,000 jobs.
16-Resettlement-Approximately 20,000 people will be resettled during the course of the project.
17-Flood Handling-The dam will be capable of handling a flood of 19,370 cubic metres per second, will reduce alluvium in Sudan by 100 million cubic metres and also facilitate irrigation of around 500,000ha of new agricultural lands.
18-Total Turbines- The total installed capacity of the dam will accommodate 16 turbines 375 MW installed capacity. 10 turbines will be on the left bank, while another 6 turbines on the right bank.
19-Upgrading- On March 27, 2012, the Ethiopian government announced a revision of the design to the power plant's design, increasing it from 5,250 MW to 6,000 MW.
20-Rank-At 6,000 MW, the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa and the 11th largest in the world when completed.