International consultancy firms selected for Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have arrived at an international firm that will oversee implementation of hydraulic and environmental studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project. The selection was done by water ministers from the three countries met last week Wednesday for the selection exercise.

A statement released in follow-up to the meeting said the names will be officially disclosed when the committee obtains clearance from the lead consultant. Ethiopia water and energy minister, Alemayehu Tegenu said after the meeting that the two firms would study the hydrological simulation model and trans-boundary socio-economic and environmental impact assessment on the dam. The studies would be done according to recommendations by panel of experts that had previously studied the impact of GERD downstream.

The consultants will conduct the studies and see them implemented to ensure that the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is done without affecting volumes that flow to Sudan and Egypt. An official from Ethiopia said last week that the firm would be expected to complete its work within five months to a year. Construction of the 6,000 MW dam is expected to end in 2017.

Egypt and Ethiopia had settled on different firms and so the announcement for the selected consultant could not be made on March as earlier planned.

Once completed, GERD would be the largest dam in Africa. Currently, 42% of construction work is completed. The country, which is planning to spend S$ 20bn for power generation from 2015-2020 through Phase two of Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), is hoping to add more power into grid in addition to projects such as the Ashegoda wind power plant expansion.

The meeting comes after the three (Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia) signed an accord that allows execution of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project without harming countries downstream. Egypt, which heavily relies on River Nile for agriculture, had earlier protested construction of the dam saying it would reduce volume of water downstream.