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From a ‘Famine’ image to a Nation of Promise and Possibilities: The Gilgel Gibe III Controversy and the Real Intentions ...

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From a ‘Famine’ image to a Nation of Promise and Possibilities: The Gilgel Gibe III Controversy and the Real Intentions behind Ethiopia’s drive to Harness its Natural Resources BT Costantinos, PhD

President, Lem Ethiopia, the Environment and Development Society The Centre for Human Environment

1. Introduction In 1984, a famine began to strike Ethiopia with apocalyptic force. Westerners watched in horror as the images of death filled their TV screens: the rows of fly-haunted corpses, the skeletal orphans crouched in pain, the villagers desperately scrambling for bags of grain dropped from the sky. What started out as a trickle of aid turned into a billion-dollar flood. Irish Rocker Bob Geldof enlisted the help of his fellow musicians dubbed his crusade Band Aid and raised $140 million. The rescue effort was plagued by delays and controversy, and some one million Ethiopians eventually died, but more would have perished if the world had not responded so generously.i Such are the horrors of famine perpetrated by bad governments that the global community had to assert that famine should be history. In response, to this and later famines, The G8 resolution of the 2004 summit states, “With a population of almost 150 million, recurring conflict, and an average per capita annual income of less than $220, the Horn of Africa presents a compelling case for attention. For more than two decades, nearly half of Ethiopians have experienced some degree of food insecurity and malnutrition. Approximately five million are "chronically food insecure", i.e., unable at some time in any year to secure an adequate supply of food for survival. Millions more face hunger or food insecurity in Eritrea, Somalia, and the Sudan.ii We are united in our belief that famine is preventable in the 21" century. Famine, food insecurity, and malnutrition have many complex causes, and defeating them will require a global partnership with governments, the private sector, and NGOs. We renew our commitment to help build this partnership where more than 200 million people remain threatened by famine and support NEPAD and the principles and goals set out in the CAADP”.iii.iv “Raising Agricultural Productivity in Food Insecure Countries and Promoting Rural Development: We applaud the renewed attention by donors, international institutions, NGOs, and developing countries to these crucial issues, in particular the significant increase in the agricultural and rural development activities of the World Bank and the FAO and the innovative irrigation and agricultural technology programs financed by the IFAD. We will focus our institutional capacity building to help food insecure countries, particularly in Africa, develop agricultural science and technology, raise agriculture productivity, and meet international food safety standards.v Together we will advance a vision of a "second green revolution" adapted to African conditions that would raise agricultural productivity, promote hardier crops for healthier people, and make food insecurity in Africa a thing of the past”. Ethiopia, a nation known as the water tower of North-East Africa is the epicentre of famines. Surface water resources in Ethiopia flow in 12 major river basins. It is estimated that an average of 122.19 billion cu mt of water is annually discharged from the Abay, Tekeze, Baro, and Omo-Gibe river basins with an estimated 3.5 million ha of irrigable land.vi Hence, the long-term objective of the government is to establish once and for all a nation that can ensure its citizenry human development and human security. Gilgel Gibe is just one of the many projects expected to contribute to this vision. Understandably, the Ethiopian Government has now launched major economic and social rehabilitation scheme to make famine history. Indeed, the economy has recently been growing at 10% and provides opportunities to finance development within. Given the size of the resource gap and the limited capacity of the economy to mobilise domestic resources, the financial gap is covered from donors’ assistance. New aid modalities support the nation by generating national consensus on the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty to achieve MDGs. Ethiopians ensemble, believe that massive food production and the energy required to fuel such development is the only way that the nations can shed the stigma of famine. Controversies notwithstanding, we must put in place well-researched studies on their impacts and advance dialogue forums to address the potential gains of such projects and the human and environmental impact of such undertakings.

2. Gilgel Gibe III Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) is currently focusing on developing the country’s hydroelectric potential and the Gibe III scheme provides generating capacity to meet domestic demand and increase exports of electricity and make the sector a major foreign currency earner for the country. The direct benefits of this project will be 1,870 MW of electrical power and 6,400 GWh of firm energy per year. The Gibe III scheme is located within the Gibe - Omo River Basin, in the middle reach of the Omo River around 450 km by road south of Addis Ababa. The scheme, from the root of its reservoir to its tailrace outfall, extends over a corridor some 155 km long. Administratively, the reservoir stretches over five zones and twelve districts. The downstream area extends from the dam site up to Lake Turkana. Omo River below the Gibe III dam traverses through the four districts of South Omo Zone. The approximate centroid of the project area lies at 757,225 North and 312,293 East. The works concerning the construction of the Gibe III scheme (diversion tunnels, cofferdams, main dam, Power House, switchyard, etc.) are concentrated in a small area of about 1.6 sq km. The Gibe III Hydropower Project will be the third development in a cascade of water resource schemes (Gilgel Gibe/ Gibe I, in operation and Gibe II under completion) on the main Gibe/Omo River. One further hydropower scheme – known as Gibe IV is foreseen downstream on the Omo River. The Gibe III, Hydropower scheme and comprises a 240m high dam, which will create a huge reservoir with a surface area of some 200 sq km and a live storage of some 11,750 million m³. It has an underground and inclined penstocks, a surface Power House equipped with ten power generating units and switchyards, with the following characteristics: Vertical axis Francis N. 10 turbines, 187 MW, 211 m Hn, 95 m3/s Q, 0.46 Plant load factor (0.46 Gibe I; 0.44 Gibe II) and 6,500 GWh Energy produced annually. The electrical power will be available at any time of the day or night to cover both peak and off-peak demand in the Ethiopian interconnected power systems or exported. The so-called specific unit cost of the Gibe III scheme, based on the generation component (excluding the transmission component), is some 2.86 Euro cents per kWh indicative of a very attractive hydropower generation scheme. The power produced by the 1,870 MW Power House at Gibe III will be delivered to Interconnected System (ICS) through a 65 km long four double circuit 400 kV overhead 65 km long transmission line that connects the Gibe III to a new substation at Sodo.1 The existing bridge across the Omo River (on the Chida-Sodo Road) will be submerged by the future Gibe III reservoir and a new road bridge will be built downstream of the dam. After reservoir impounding, the permanent link between the Omo River left and right banks will be possible utilising Road (on the right bank plateau) to the dam site, passage over the d/s toe of the dam and a new road on the left plateau from the dam site to the existing road (or to Kindo Halale). The proposed relocation road still lies in Wolayita and Dawro Zones of SNNPRS and serves the same community. Both the existing road and the relocation road are shown in Figure 4. The total length of the road along the selected alignment is approximately 72 km. The EPC contractor has studied a 47 km road alignment on the left bank and a 24.5 km on the right. The surfacing will be about 7 m wide carriageway gravel road. A new bridge (detailed design of the road is illustrated in the relevant report) will be constructed across the Omo downstream of the Gibe III dam. 3. Environmental Impact Assessment: 3.1. The Policy, Legal, and Administrative Framework assessment undertaken in the EIA states in detail the Regulatory Framework of FDRE, African Development Bank Guidelines, World Bank Guidelines, and International Conventions that Ethiopia has ratified. 3.2. The EIA has also undertaken and analysis of the Description of the Project Environment: Dam and Reservoir/upstream 3.2.1. Physical Environment : Climate, Geology, Seismology, Hydrogeology, Hydrology, Water quality, 3.2.2. Biological Environment: Land Use and Land Cover , Natural Vegetation and Forest Resources , Wildlife Resources, Fishery Resources, Protected Areas; 3.2.3. Population and Settlement: “In 2006, an estimated 253,412 people were living in The transmission line towers will be constructed as self-supporting steel lattice structures. The normal spacing between consecutive towers will be approximately 350m. The footprint of the towers will be approximately 12m by 12m. A right-of-way, 50m in width and approximately in the centre of the wayleave, is to be kept clear of both vegetation and structures. The right-of-way will be used for the footings of the transmission towers and as an access track for construction and maintenance of the transmission line. This land will also remain under the ownership of its present owners. As much as possible the route where practical, has avoided houses or settlements and agricultural areas. 1

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the 67 Peasant Associations located around the Gibe III reservoir area of which 49.9% were males and 50.1% were females. This population represents 10.8% of the District population. However, because of steep slope and Tsetse fly infestation, there is no settlement in the future reservoir area and settlements are concentrated on the highland in areas outside the valley. Settlement around the project area is also fully rural, and the residents are organized into small villages”;

3.2.4. Agriculture and livestock populations: “The main areas of farming are confined to the middle or upper slopes of the hills where the settlements are situated. The farmers in the project area (mainly on the high land) produce small quantities of a wide range of crops (15-20 different crops), including cereals, roots, tubers, pulses, spices, coffee, and fruits. Such use of the land is very sound, allowing the land to be converted with vegetation throughout most of the year, which helps to reduce the erosion effects of the heavy rain occurring in July and August”; 3.2.5. Public Health: “The major health problems of the project area are reported to be infectious diseases and malnutrition. Most illnesses are communicable and are

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related, either directly or indirectly, to lack of adequate and safe drinking water supplies and sanitation, low living standards and poor nutrition. Waterborne and vector borne diseases are prevalent in the area. The project areas are highly endemic for malaria with continuous transmission and malaria is by far the most important of the diseases”; 3.2.6. Cultural, religious, historical, and archaeological sites: “The importance of the Gibe III reservoir area and the immediate surrounding has been investigated in terms of religious and cultural site relics and archaeological importance. Based on this investigation the historical sites known as King Ijajo Kella and King Halala Walls were found on both sides of the Omo River. An additional archaeological impact assessment as well as the elongated stone ramparts in Wolayita and Dawro has been initiated with the Authority for the Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage”. 4. The Controversies: In spite of such detailed studies undertaken by EEPCo on the EIA of the dam, there have been controversies led by the BBC and civic organisations and academia in the Horn of Africa. 4.1. BBC’s Gilgel Gibe III Dam Controversy2: “Most people in Ethiopia's lower Omo River Valley continue to exist much as they have done for hundreds of years with virtually no concession to the 21st Century, with one disturbing exception: automatic weapons. Almost every male carries a Kalashnikov or an M-16 assault rifle, and what might in the past have been a innocuous dispute over grazing or water-rights between different groups, now frequently escalates into bloody warfare. Some fear the potential for dispute could be about to increase, because a huge dam - the second biggest in sub-Saharan Africa - is being built upstream. The government denies that the river's flow will be affected and indeed says the Gilgel Gibe III Dam will reduce flooding. "It increases the amount of water in the river system. It completely regulates flooding in the Omo, which has been a major problem," said PM Meles Zenawi. But local people - and some academics - simply don't believe it”. “The Mursi people are one of about two dozen groups who depend, either directly or indirectly, on the river and its annual cycle of flood and recession for their survival. They are famous for the coaster-sized clay disks that the women insert into their ear lobes and lower lips. In the shade of a fig tree, a group of Mursi elders gathered to discuss "rumours" of the dam. One of the senior community priests, Bargaeri, said although they were aware of the dam, they had heard nothing official. "We will suffer because there will be no more floods," he said. "I don't think the government likes the Omo tribes. They are going to destroy us." The floods lie at the very heart of the dispute over the dam. The government plainly believes they will continue pretty much as they always have, except that the dam will allow the authorities to manage the timing and the height of the flood in a way that nature never did. Richard Leakey was blunt in his assessment of its consequences. "My problem is that the dam is going to affect a huge number of people who have no voice, a huge number of people who will fight over the decreasing resources. "Innocent people will be killed in conflict over those resources, and I don't believe it is necessary."3 “The Nyangatom is amongst the most heavily armed of the communities in the Omo Valley. Half of the group lives over the border inside South Sudan, where most young men fought with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement during its long civil war with Khartoum. They brought back training, experience, and weapons, raising the stakes even further. In the village of Kangaten, the Nyangatom's elder spokesman called Kai shook with rage as he condemned the authorities. The tribes have developed sophisticated agricultural techniques that have allowed them to live comfortably and sustainably for centuries. They know how to plant in a way that guarantees enough food whatever happens through the year." However, the tribal lands have become increasingly squeezed between newly gazetted national parks and large commercial landholders, and growing populations on the other. The Peter Greste BBC, March 26, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7959814.stm “Mr Leakey's criticisms echo those of a collection of European, American, and East African academics who have banded together as the "African Resources Working Group". The group has released a highly detailed commentary on the electricity company's environmental impact assessment (EIA) that criticises almost every element of both the dam and the study. In a section dealing with the impact on indigenous communities, the commentary asserts: "Additional dispossession and disruption of the ethnic groups of the lowermost Omo basin, from the planned irrigation agricultural schemes and industrial projects described in the downstream EIA and planned by the Ethiopian government… will precipitate waves of new conflicts among groups already competing with one another over the shrinking natural resource base available to all of them.” BBC 2 3

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government has promised irrigation schemes as a way of mitigating any negative effects of the dam, but that too is dismissed by the community elders. "The issue is how to empower these communities to face this change in a way that they can manage. How do you empower, enable these people to deal with this change? 4.2. Sunday Nation’s “Kenya seeks cheap power at the expense of Turkana”4 “Kenya’s Lake Turkana, was in the spotlight in the just ended World Water Forum here, when a claim that the country's second largest lake faced the threat of extinction due to plans to dam Ethiopia’s River Omo — the lake’s main inlet. The Government of Kenya had “traded off,” the people of Turkana in exchange for hydro-electric power to be supplied from Ethiopia after the damming of the river. Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake and lifeline for more than 300,000 Kenyans and Ethiopians, has lost several metres of its water in the last five years. Plans to build a dam along the Omo River — the source of more than 80 per cent of the lake — will drastically reduce the inflow into the lake, increase the lake’s salinity and severely alter the lives of thousands of people and millions of animals dependent on the lake. The activists called for recognition of water as a human right and demanded an immediate end to the World Water Forum saying that the forum was an avenue for private water companies to balloon their bottom line. The activists chastised the forum organised by the World Water Council, saying it was yet another avenue for commercialisation of water, while not addressing the plight of the poor in Africa who continued to suffer due to lack of access to the precious life sustaining fluid.5 The Nation asserts, “The Kenyan government is complacent in the scheme in its quest to buy cheaper electricity from Ethiopia.” The water activist said the people of Turkana would like to be informed about what the governments of Kenya and Ethiopia agreed on in building the dam. The people of Turkana would also want to know what the government thought of the future of Lake Turkana, whose national parks form some of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. The forum and the World Water Day came hot on the heels of a UN report released on March 12, warning of potential conflicts over water scarcity. The 348-page document titled: “Third World Water Development Report” noted that while the water supply target was being attained by the rest of the World, “SSA and low income Arab states are far from the target, and some risk backsliding.” The report noted that in Africa, by 2020, some 75-250 million people may be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change and “conflicts will likely intensify.” 4.3. Ethiopia - Gilgel Gibe dam unites Ethiopians6 “The recent news about the construction of the world's tallest dam in Ethiopia has generated more than 140 comments.vii A vast majority of the readers were united in their support for Ethiopia's dam. Free writes, "Mr.Leaky, there are no factual grounds for your leaky and wicked Hypothetical Assessments", referring to a critique of the Gilgel Gibe III dam. Another reader, ababu writes "Go Ethiopia! Only these kind of bold and big projects will propel our country to the next phase of economic prosperity. And they said it could not be done." Omo writes, "It is mesmerizing news to read that Ethiopia is constructing the infrastructures it needs to move forward. We all have in our minds the poor people we left behind. Anything that will improve their lives makes us happy. When we read of investments Ernest Waititu - Sunday Nation, Kenya (Originally posted in Istanbul, Turkey, March 25, 2009), March 29, 2009, http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/550906 /-/u3n6fo/-/index.html 5 The forum, staged every three years to deliberate on water issues, attracted more than 20,000 participants from across the world. Water and Irrigation minister, Charity Ngilu led the Kenya delegation. Fathered under the over-arching theme of “Bridging Divides for Water”, the Forum was dogged by controversy right from its first day on Monday, March 16, when hundreds of water activists protesting against its authenticity got into a violent confrontation with police. Riot police used teargas to disperse the more than 300 protesters who threw rocks and beat officers with sticks. The participants castigated the neo-liberal approach to water management, which they said espouses increased privatisation of water. More than 17 protesters were arrested. Two activists with International Rivers, a group that opposes dam constructions on river courses, who unfurled a banner that read “No Risky Dams” at the forum’s opening ceremony were arrested and deported. Mr Peter Bosshard, the policy director of International Rivers, condemned the deportation in a press release and dismissed the Water Forum as “a trade fair of corporate interests.” The water justice activists later held a one-day Peoples’ Forum on Thursday March 19. “The divide remains deep between the people who want quality water and sanitation and the bankers and corporations who control the World Water Council,” said Mr David Boys of Public Services International, in a press release to the participants in the forum. 6 Nazret, a US-based Ethiopian website, March 27, 2009, http://nazret.com/blog/index.php?title=ethiopia_gilgel_gibe_dam_unites_ethiopia&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 4

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of such nature, we are all in high spirits. The disappointment comes when we learn that money flies out of poor old Ethiopia. The next thing is to develop the Nile and its tributaries in order to ascertain our rights over this river.” Uzawa writs, "Credit goes where it is due. Let us accept the fact: when it comes to Hydopower dams and road expansion, the guys are doing well. They are laying the foundations. One of the strongest cases were made by one of nazret's most popular reader, Addis Girl who wrote "This is excellent news and long overdue! We have to give credit where it is due and that is what rational minds are there for. The country rightly deserves long-term developments. “It is good to see something viable for a change and credit goes to the ever-enduring Ethiopian people who survived with little or no electricity. As an African Capital City, Addis was even a joke for the past few years with power being interrupted non-stop. Finally, thumbs up to those who intelligently challenged the so-called critics? Africans are not blind anymore”.7 5. Potential Impacts and Benefit Enhancement and Mitigation Measures 5.1. Beneficial/ Positive Impacts: Key potentially beneficial impacts associated with implementation of the Gibe III Project are all related to the post-construction phase and are as follows: The Gibe III scheme is designed to supply 1,870 MW of electrical power and 6,500 GWh of average energy per year to Ethiopia’s Interconnected system. Under the Power Sector Development Programme, the government plans to increase electricity coverage from 22% in 2005 to 50% by 2010 and the number of customers from, 138,000 to 2.6 million. Establishing new connection to the grid requires that there is an adequate supply of power. The increase in generating capacity provided by Gibe III, together with ongoing rural electrification programmes will facilitate improved access to electricity for the Ethiopian population with associated downstream, benefits. Other benefits of significance are fishery developmentviii, prospects to export power, avoidance of co2 emissionix, regulation of the river flow for irrigationx, flood protectionxi, and tourism activities: The reservoir offers potential for eco-tourism, environmental education, etc. for bird watching and sport fishing; job opportunity during constructionxii and women as well as men will benefit equally from the employment opportunities that will be created and from convenient and safe access road facility. Women often run shops and bars in the area and obviously, during the construction period, there will likely be more women engaged in income-generating activities, running restaurants and bars, or selling local products to construction camp workers. These activities will benefit mainly women who are very often the sole supporters of their families. It is also recommended for the contractor to use his best endeavours to maximise local hire of labour and give priority to women, in so far as this is compatible with his skill requirements, and to maximise local procurement of supplies. 5.2. Adverse Impacts and Mitigation Measures of the dam and reservoir: 5.2.1. Based on the findings of this ESIA the key environmental impacts during the construction and operation and maintenance phases of the project have been identified. The potential negative impacts of the proposed Gibe III Hydropower Project on the physical, biological and socio-economic environment have been identified and benefit enhancement and mitigation measures that should be adopted to avoid or minimise potential adverse impacts are recommended. Of which, some involve good engineering practices while others viewed from socio-economic as well as humanitarian angle. There are no confirmed occurrences of geothermal activity in dam area and because of its distance from the major seismic centres, located in the rift valley, any tectonical event will have negligible effects on Gibe III; 5.2.2. Impacts on Protected Areas: No adverse direct or indirect impacts are anticipated in respect of sensitive habitat, National Parks, Wildlife Reserves, or National Forest Priority Areas. The reservoir area is neither contiguous with, nor in close proximity with any of these nationally protected areas like national parks nor 7 We know, Western Agents like Mr Leakey or whatever his name is, do not give a toss about Ethiopians or Kenyans living near by. The WEST never wants to see long-term developments in Africa and would do anything in their power to deter that. Refusal of funding by IMF and European Investment Bank is clear evidence of that. They would have directly or indirectly poured the money into the country if it was needed for one off food Aid or destructive purposes such as purchase of lethal weapons for Africans to kill each other! The West had built all their infrastructures and WHAT NOT without anybody questioning them about environmental or any other impacts. They are the once currently destroying the planet with all the carbon emission, dumping of illegal substances/chemicals in to international waters, Sahara desert etc. Africans (Kenyans in this case), should be aware that all the critics are there to stop you advance as African advancement will mean a huge threat to the west. Don’t be too dumb and bark like helpless Chiwawas with your British Masters."

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wildlife sanctuaries reserves and designated ecologically sensitive areas. There is also no endangerment of endemic or rare species in the impounded areas. 5.2.3. Impacts on Natural Vegetation: The loss of woodland grassland on the hillslopes of the valley and narrow riparian vegetation along the river and streams would not bring about marked differences in the carrying capacity. However, to compensate this loss an estimated 60,000 ha of land around the reservoir will be developed as buffer area expected to support bio-diversity conservation enhancing biological value of the area. 5.2.4. Impacts on Wildlife Resources: The area harbours only limited number of wildlife species and does not rate well with areas in Lower Omo. Therefore, there will only be a minimum opportunity cost loss suffered by the dam construction and creation of reservoir. During survey, it was observed that on average the human settlement in the area is limited to an altitude of 1,300 m a.s.l. For the wildlife there are ample sites on both side of the river (up or down stream) as the maximum water level remains at around 900 m a.s.l. Therefore, most terrestrial animals can take refuge in the area between these two altitudes (900 and 1,100 m a.s.l.). 5.2.5. Impacts on Farmland and other Privately owned Assets: The direct impact of the project in terms of loss of assets and property is summarized in Table 1 below. The project will affect a total of 355 households, about 188.94 hectares of privately owned land of which 138.7 ha is farmland, (excluding the TL) 47 residential housing units, and 71,852 perennial crops and other trees (see Table 0.1). The impacts of the Gibe III-Sodo transmission line include 192 households, 129 ha of farmland and 26,892 perennial crops and other trees. The summary of project impact on household assets by district and project component is as follows HH (No)

Private land (ha) affected Total Farmland

By District Kindo Didaye 165 Kindo Koyisha 69 Loma 121 Total 355 By Project Component Reservoir 58 EEPCO Camp 47 Road Realignment 250 Total 355 Gibe III-Sodo-Transmission Line Kindo Koyisha 105 Sodo Zuriya 20 Damot Sore 67 Total 192

Homes affected

Trees (No.)xiii

81.89 25.56 81.49 188.94

63.62 19.14 55.94 138.7

31 2 14 47

58,388 613 12,851 71,852

97.55 22.95 68.44 188.94

70.14 14.38 54.18 138.70

0 29 18 47

6,523 51,748 13,581 71,852

70.79 30.90 27.52 129.21

105 20 67 192

7,320 1,523 18,047 26,892

As can be seen from the figures in above, one of the most important points to note is that although the Gibe III project is one of the largest hydropower projects ever undertaken in the country, the impact from the reservoir in terms of population displacement is very small. This is because the impounded water will be confined within the gorge of the river far from large population settlement areas. The census survey (for the reservoir, EEPCO camp and the realignment road) revealed that all PAPs would prefer to receive their compensation in the form of cash for loss of farm land, perennial crops and other trees and houses and other structures. Therefore, given their preferences cash compensation and employment within the project has been recommended. 5.2.6. Impacts on Tribal People: “There are no communities whose livelihoods could become compromised by the implementation of the proposed project. Therefore, no indigenous people development plan will be required”. 5.2.7. Impacts of Public Health: The predicted annual drawdown levels of approximately 90 m should ensure that neither snails nor macrophytes would flourish in the new impoundments. Therefore, public health impacts from various disease vectors species are, at this point, not considered to be a major factor affecting the implementation of the project. However, to reduce the risk of contracting malaria and to contain malaria cases, it is recommended to implement measures to control vectors.xiv 5.2.8. Impacts on Social Service Facilities and Infrastructure: “The long stretch of Gibe III reservoir formation on the Gibe, Gojeb and Omo Rivers, will impact upon some social service facilities and infrastructures”. xv

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5.2.9. Impacts on Historic Sites: “The historical sites known as King Ijajo Kella Walls will be partially affected by the reservoir. The sections that will be flooded are less than 2% of the total lengths and those sections are not unique in type and location and therefore, this impact is considered to be minor. As a compensation measures, EEPCO has financially assisted ARCCH to properly study, document and register these sites as parts of Ethiopian heritage and to promote and publicize this historic sites for both local and international tourists. The result of this study will also assist to prepare a management plan to protect, conserve, and manage the remaining sites (more than 98% of the existing walls) from manmade and natural hazards. The project will also finance for the construction of access road to the nearest representative sites and with associated tourist services. Although the UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in the Lower Omo Valley downstream of the Gibe III dam and reservoir site, it will not be affected by the construction and operation of the Gibe III scheme”. 5.3. Impacts on Downstream Environment Lower Omo and Mitigation Measures 5.3.1. Impacts on Recession Agriculture and Grazing Resources: “Under present ‘average’ flood condition, riverbanks are submerged annually along the lower Omo River and around the river mouth. The annual flooding of the land bordering the Omo River soaks the land for traditional recession cultivation and dry season grazing, replenishes lakes and swamps on the floodplain and favours fish breeding. The downstream environmental assessment indicates that to satisfy the demand for traditional recession agriculture, dry season grazing and fishery resources, seasonally more water will be released and flooding will be created on the land bordering the Omo River. These controlled floods will allow maintaining the required environmental flows also during the drought years. The regulating capacity of the reservoir will also allow controlling the natural floods peak discharges with short durations (n.d.r. which caused the 2006 flooding)”. 5.3.2. Controlled Environmental Floods: “The reservoir operation will regulate the flows in the Omo River downstream of the plant. In broad terms, there will be an increase in the flows during the dry season and a reduction of the flows during the rainy season, when the water is retained to fill the reservoir, with a substantial decrease of peak flood flows. Further, downstream, as unregulated flow enter the river system from tributaries, the effect of the regulation decreases. The Gibe III hydropower plant is designed to allow the optimization of the reservoir operation and energy production during the operational life basing on the requirements both of the energy market and of the downstream environment”. xvi 5.3.3. Daily Flow Variation Acoustic Warning System: “The first section of the river downstream Gibe III dam will experience consistent fluctuation of water levels within the riverbed in the course of normal (24 hrs) hydroelectric operations. Although, due to local geomorphology, no permanent human settlement/activities are located in areas interested by the fluctuating water levels, this does not mean that humans, especially in the proximity of villages, may not approach the river for different usages or for crossing it. To this aim, a long-term warning system constituted by sirens will be placed and operated in river sections located in the immediate proximity of nearest villages and around major river crossing to signal in advance occurrence of rising waters in a number of priority spots (provisionally estimated in 50-100 locations) along the Omo river first 200 km downstream Gibe III Dam”.xvii 5.3.4. Riparian Release/Environmental Flow: “Although there is no regulation in Ethiopia defining required minimum flow in the rivers, a minimum flow would have to be maintained naturally to meet the ecological requirements of the Omo downstream. From the ecological point of view, the minimum flow in the normal dry season is the most relevant having little contribution from the tributaries downstream. The recorded natural minimum mean monthly flows is in the month of March (about 25 cu mt/s) and as a priority this value has been recommended as absolute minimum monthly average compensation flow which must be sustained the under whole operation of the scheme. This flow preserves the natural regime during the dry season. However, with plant operation because the flow will be regulated there will be the added environmental benefit of reducing the incidence of extreme low monthly average flows, which have been experienced in the past. During reservoir filling, it is also recommended to release a compensation flow of about 25 cu mt/s”.

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5.3.5. Impacts on Fishery Resources: “Concerning impacts on aquatic environment, the creation of additional water bodies would have a positive effect by significantly increasing a fishery potential in the area. A number of commercially important species are known to migrate from Lake Turkana into the Omo River for spawning. However, these migrants do not reach the upper reaches of the system. Therefore, construction will not affect the populations of migrant fishes because their spawning sites are far downstream of the dam site”.xviii 6. Conclusion 6.1. Famine in Ethiopia: In 1984, a famine began to strike Ethiopia with apocalyptic force. Westerners watched in horror as the images of death filled their TV screens: the rows of flyhaunted corpses, the skeletal orphans crouched in pain, the villagers desperately scrambling for bags of grain dropped from the sky. What started out as a trickle of aid turned into a billion-dollar flood. Irish Rocker Bob Geldof enlisted the help of his fellow musicians dubbed his crusade Band Aid and raised $140 million. The rescue effort was plagued by delays and controversy, and some one million Ethiopians eventually died. But more would have perished if the world had not responded so generously 6.2. Harnessing water-power: Ethiopia is known as the water tower of North-East Africa. Surface water resources in Ethiopia flow in 12 major river basins. It is estimated that an average of 122.19 billion cu. mt. of water is annually discharged from these basins. 80 to 90 percent of the water resources of the country are found in the Abay, Tekeze, Baro, and OmoGibe river basins with an estimated 3.5 million ha of irrigable land. Hence, the long-term objective of the government is to establish once and for all an Ethiopia that can ensure its citizenry both human development and human security. Gilgel Gibe is just one of the many projects expected to contribute to this vision. Understandably, the Ethiopian Government has now launched major economic and social rehabilitation scheme to make famine history. The Ethiopian Economy has recently been growing at 10% annually and this provides opportunities to integrate international development aid with a strong economy to finance development within. The first poverty reduction programme was formulated in 2001. Given the size of the resource gap and the limited capacity of the economy to mobilise domestic resources, the financial gap is covered from donors’ assistance. New aid modalities support the nation by generating national consensus on the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty aligned with development assistance to achieve MDGs and align with principles to promote aid effectiveness. 6.3. Harnessing Energy Resources: Energy supply in Ethiopia is mainly based on biomass resources. Out of the 698.84 Tera-joules of energy utilized in 1994, the share of biomass resources was 95.1 percent. The contribution of energy from petroleum and electricity was only 4.3 and 0.6 percent, respectively. Studies made at various time indicate that the country has an estimated 30 to 50 billion m3 of natural gas, 1000 Megawatts of geothermal power and an unknown but substantial quantity of coal and other energy sources such as oil shale. As regards alternative sources of energy, the country has an estimated potential for generating 2.3 Terra Watt hours of solar energy and 4.8 million Terra Calories of wind energy per annum. However, except for a limited effort to apply solar energy for expanding telecommunication services in rural areas, no other significant action has been taken to utilize alternative sources of energy. In 1996, total energy consumption in the country amounted to 723 Meta-joules. This is equivalent to 50 million tones of fuel wood, of which 94.5 percent was acquired from bio-mass sources including fuel wood, crop residues and animal dung. Although it is believed that enormous amounts of energy can be generated from the various energy sources in the country, the sources that are most used (above 95%) are wood and other biomass products. Due to poverty, the majority of the population cannot afford to buy and/or construct the equipment required for harnessing alternative sources of energy and the biomass resources are being increasingly depleted. As a result of the deforestation, the silting up of dams and the consequent reduction in reservoir capacity has undermined the generation of hydropower energy. Biomass resources such as dung are not being ploughed back into the land as they are used as energy.xix 6.4. The controversy: 6.4.1. The Mursi people are one of about two dozen groups who depend, either directly or indirectly, on the river and its annual cycle of flood and recession for their survival. They are famous for the coaster-sized clay disks that the women insert into their ear lobes and lower lips. In the shade of a fig tree, a group of Mursi elders gathered to

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discuss "rumours" of the dam. Secondly, Kenya’s Lake Turkana, is claimed to be facing the threat of extinction due to plans to dam Ethiopia’s River Omo — the lake’s main inlet. 6.4.2. Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake and lifeline for more than 300,000 Kenyans and Ethiopians, has lost several metres of its water in the last five years. Plans to build a dam along the Omo River — the source of more than 80 per cent of the lake — will drastically reduce the inflow into the lake, increase the lake’s salinity and severely alter the lives of thousands of people and millions of animals dependent on the lake for survival in the drought-stricken northern Kenya. 6.4.3. Ethiopians on the other hand are saying that credit should go where it is due. Let us accept the fact: when it comes to hydro power dams and road expansion, the guys are doing well. But what puzzles me so much is why there is no some sort of balance between dams for hydropower and dams for irrigation to feed the people?" One of the strongest cases were made by one of most popular reader, Addis Girl who wrote "This is excellent news and long overdue! We have to give credit where it is due and that is what rational minds are there for. 6.5. Next steps: Ethiopians ensemble, believe that massive food production and the energy required to fuel such development is the only way that the nation can shed the stigma of famine and poverty. Controversies notwithstanding, we must put in place well-researched studies on their impacts and advance dialogue forums to address the potential gains of such projects and the human and environmental impact of such undertakings. 6.5.1. to involve the local populace (through their local organisations) that will be affected by the dam in the discourse on the utility and impact of the dam; 6.5.2. to listen to the environmental activists of their concerns and to convince those who are sceptical about the EIA by undertaking further evaluations of the EIA; 6.5.3. to host a roundtable for dialogue among the sceptics and the researchers to convince them the that the human and environmental impacts will not adversely affect the intended purpose of the construction so the dam; 6.5.4. to ensure that all recommendations of the EIA are implemented correctly by setting up a monitoring system that checks on progress; Understandably, Ethiopia needs to utilise its hydroelectric and irrigation potential to be able to sustain any form of development in Africa’s second largest populated nation. It aims to create quickly a strong infrastructure base and certain key production capacity (e.g., in hydropower, cement, and export industries in general) so that in time, growth of imports will moderate and exports will begin to narrow the trade deficit.xx While the concerns of the human and physical environment in the Gilgel Gibe III, project must be addressed as a matter of urgency, it also important that such development take a course of inclusion and dialogue so that all voices are heard in a democratic environment. This will allow for the projects such as Gilgel Gibe III to proceed without a hitch but also allow the project holders to raise resources without the damage that will be imparted by concerned citizens and international civil society organisations. On the other hand, international lobby must also refine its advocacy so that protests that are not based on scientific facts and solid evidence and impact assessment evaluation do not hamper Africa’s fledgling development projects. In fact, a balance must be created between what is logically tenable in terms of the incessant dependency on international charity and ‘unsubstantiated’ militancy against such development projects, without which, that dependence will not be addressed. Notwithstanding economic, social, cultural, religious and political and sundry but insurmountable obstacles and impediments emanating from internal structural obstructions, attempts must be made to identify the impediments and the need for strategic partnership and alliances with civil society. It can be done. Yes it can be done. A skilled and committed civic leadership can mitigate conditions that are hostile to achieving such synergy between state and society and equitable growth and prosperity. Serrill, MS, TIME -CNN (1987) Famine: Hunger stalks Ethiopia once again -- and aid groups fear the worst The White House, (2004) Ending Famine in Horn of Africa: Ending the Cycle of Famine in the Horn of Africa, Raising Agricultural Productivity, and Promoting Rural Development in Food Insecure Countries iii Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme iv “In particular, we applaud the African Union Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security, in which African leaders committed to allocating at least 10% of national budgetary resources for agriculture and rural development. Our efforts to fight famine, hunger and food insecurity are a demonstration of our commitment to achieve internationally recognized development goals. We have agreed on a joint response to the crucial problem of promoting broad-based rural development and raising agricultural productivity in food insecure areas. i

ii

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v We will strengthen local and regional agricultural markets and improve access for poor farmers to productive resources such as land, credit, agricultural inputs and services, and technology. We will encourage private investment, promote the use of geo-spatial data, and explore famine-risk schemes and promote agricultural science and research, we will enhance institutional capacity. vi However, because land developed for irrigation to date has not been more than 5 percent of the potential, Ethiopia comes down to eleventh position for actual utilization of water resources for irrigation. Because of Ethiopia's topography the rivers have enormous hydropower generating capacity estimated at 650 Terra Watts, of which very little of this capacity is being actually used. vii http://www.nazret.com viii The project will create a reservoir of 20,000 ha in area and 240 meter deep at the dam site. This is a large artificial lake that provides different environmental and ecological niches for diverse fish species, requiring habitats with varying depth from shallow littoral zone to deep demersal and pelagic areas. The reservoir fishery is much more productive than the riverine fishery (which is not utilized at the moment). This may directly occupy more than 300 families on a along term basis. Thus, it could be taken as an opportunity in terms of developing a more productive and flourishing fishery that helps to improve source of income in the area and to obtain additional benefit for the local anglers ix Hydropower offsets thermal or other types of generation. Besides replacing capacity and energy, the use of hydropower also leads to a reduction of thermal plant emission (about 4.5 million t/y of CO2 emission) x According to the expectations of the districts’ officials, with the construction of the dam and creation of the reservoir, the Omo River will come closer to the nearby settlements and the people will have the opportunity to use the river water for small-scale irrigation development. The expansion of irrigation farms would increase crop production per unit area and contributes to higher income and increased food security to the community xi The presence of Gibe III reservoir will provide flood protection to downstream areas. As a result, the damage due to floods like loss of crops, dwellings and the suffering and possibly death of affected people will reduce. The measurements carried out at occurred in August 2006 indicated a peak flood flow in the range of about 3,500-4,000 sq mt/sec, being a quite frequent flood with a return period of less than 10 years. The 2006 floods have caused in the area hundreds people and thousand animals dead besides 15,000 displaced population, with an estimate of millions of US$ of works needed to rehabilitate facilities washed away. With this regulation, areas prone to frequent flooding can be used for agricultural purposes xii Comparison with other projects of broadly similar type and magnitude, suggests that the total workforce on construction contract. The production of more hydropower would allow the expansion of industries in the surrounding urban areas creating more permanent jobs for the displaced and other people in the area xiii and Perennial Crops xiv The other serious issue that should be given due attention is the social issue related to the influx of labour force during the construction period. Particularly the spread of sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV/AIDS could tremendously increase unless strong control measures are taken. At the construction site, a quality health services will be provided to the construction employee’s by establishing appropriate health facility. Awareness campaign on sexually transmitted diseases (STD/HIV/AIDS) and their prevention methods will be organized for the construction workers and local communities. xv These include submergence of Chida-Soda road section and the Bridge on the Omo River and several river crossings. It is planned to realign the road section downstream of the proposed dam site. It is also recommended to establish a boat service at the affected nine locations to provide service to transport people and goods. xvi The current assessment envisages controlled environmental floods within the following ranges of characteristics: Period : August / September ; Flows : about 1600 cu mt /sec at lake Turkana (1000 - 1300 m3/sec released from Gibe III) ; Duration : 10 days (with Q = 1600 m3/sec at Turkana) The design flows will compare approximately with the monthly average inflows at Gibe III site (38 years sequence) of September (Q=1,057 cu mt/sec) and August (Q=1,520 cu mt/sec). This discharged volume will allow recreating a flood reasonably similar to a natural yearly “average” flood at Lower Omo with duration of about 1 week. The wide outlet structures (two middle outlets each Qmax=725 cu mt /sec, spillway with nine bays each Qmax=2065 cu mt /sec, ecological outlet Qmax=24 cu mt /sec) together with the large reservoir volumes (11,750 M cu mt live storage) and the installed capacity allow a particularly relevant flexibility of the plant operation. xvii The sirens will advice differently for Large Water Releases (Controlled Flooding) and Ordinary Discharges occurring daily because of Dam operations by mean of distinct warning signals to the understanding of which the residing population will be trained beforehand. The Warning Units will be remotely trigged by the Dam Control Station, on a pre-organised time sequence according to the river water speed, possibly coupled with water level gauges systems reacting to rising water levels placed in the immediate proximity of warning units. Sonic Devices and water level gauges with ultrasonic sensors will be operated by solar panels. xviii Endemic fish species of the lake will not be adversely affected by the project as their spawning and feeding grounds are located in connection to the Turkana lakeshore and the river delta areas. There are no fish species listed as threatened or endangered in any of the study reports of the River Omo basin fish fauna study that could be affected by the dam. However, the reduction in flood pulse may affect the spawning activities in the lower Omo. Therefore, it is planned to release more water seasonally to create flooding on the land bordering the Omo River. However, detailed monitoring is envisaged to determine the discharge mechanism and operational program and to ascertain how essential these floods are for the breeding success of fish. xix Environmental Protection Agency, (2003) State Of The Environment Report In Ethiopia, Addis Abeba xx Ken Ohashi (2009) Sustaining Growth Ethiopessimism?, World Bank's Country Director. Part one and two

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