Construction of GERD’s saddle dam now fully complete

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)’s saddle dam in Ethiopia is now fully complete, according to Engineer Girma Mengistu, the head of Civil Construction Inspection at the development.

While speaking to a local news outlet last week, Eng. Mengistu said that they had just finished building the upstream face of the saddle dam, with over 14 million cubic meters concrete embankment, marking the completion of the entire saddle dam.

He added that the completed upstream face of the saddle dam, particularly the face slab, covers an area of more than 330,000 square meters and that this is a great breakthrough for the entire GERD project as workers can now shift their concentration from the saddle dam and focus on fast-tracking the execution of the main project.

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An overview of the saddle dam

Excavation and clearing of the 5.2km saddle dam with an average height of about 50 meters started right after the commencement of the GERD project while construction of its face slab started back in 2009.

Mengistu mentioned that the foundation treatment had, before the completion of the face slab, accomplished to prevent any possible underground water leakage where more than 30,000 plastic diaphragms have also been laid underground as a precaution.

The saddle dam, constructed in an elevation of fewer than 600m will have a pivotal contribution towards generating the planned 15,760 GWh power from the GERD.

Negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia over the GERD project

This announcement comes amidst a new course of negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia tackling the main issue of filling the dam and the time period of the GERD’s operation.

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia insists on storage within a period of three years while on the other hand, the Arab Republic of Egypt is requesting a 7-year filing period.

Recently, the United States held talks with the two countries and Sudan, at the presence of the World Bank. The dialog is still in progress and will take about 60 days.

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