AfDB set to start funding Ethiopia’s Gibe dam
Posted Friday, July 3 2009 at 00:00
AfDB’s financing assurance comes barely two weeks after a team of Kenya government officials who had travelled to Ethiopia to investigate claims that the project poses a danger to the future of Lake Turkana also gave it a clean bill of health.
Mr John Nyaoro, the water ministry’s director in charge of water services who led the Kenya’s fact finding team to Ethiopia, said the receding Lake Turkana waters was due to unrelated upstream development.
“This dam does not consume water. The river’s water passing through it will merely be used for the purpose of turning the turbines after which it will be released downstream,” he told a press briefing when he returned from Ethiopia last month.
River Omo contributes 20 billion cubic metres of water to Lake Turkana every year.
Mr Nyaoro’s team found that lake’s is only threatened by the cyclic climate change, rain failure and continued degradation of catchment rivers like Turkwel and Kerio.
To gain more say in the management of River Omo, Kenya has been pushing for a Co-operative Framework Agreement with Ethiopia, which is supposed to provide the legal framework for the establishment of a Basin Commission that will act as a clearing house for any developments in Lake Turkana basin.
The CFA is also expected to compel Ethiopia to consult Kenya incase of any future change in water use of Gibe III dam, a request that it says should only be granted after a environmental assessment.
But the Ethiopian side has remained adamant, saying their own monitoring system is sound and that a cooperative mechanism, if needed, can be achieved through an inter- ministerial conference.