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World Water Day: Ethiopian Mega-Dam Causes Global Outrage

World Water Day: Ethiopian Mega-Dam Causes Global Outrage

Hundreds of human rights and environmental organizations around the world are circulating a global petition to protest a giant hydroelectric the dam currently under construction in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley.

Experts say the dam will have an enormous impact on the delicate ecosystem of the region by altering the seasonal flooding of the Omo River and dramatically reduce its downstream volume.

In July 2006 the Ethiopian government signed a contract with the Italian company Salini Costruttori to build Gibe III, the biggest hydro-electric dam in the country, according to Survival International. In violation of Ethiopia’s laws, indigenous tribes were not consulted about the decision, and there was no competitive bidding for the contract.

The dam, which the Ethiopian government reports is only 40 percent complete, will destroy natural flood patterns that are vital for the Omo tribes’ cultivation methods. Although the government claims an ‘artificial flood’ will solve the problem, the dam constructors last year revealed plans for the tribes to ‘switch from flood-retreat agriculture to more modern (sic) forms of agriculture’ following a ‘transitory period’.

Survival International reports that an imposed ‘switch’ of this kind will almost certainly prove disastrous, entailing an end to the already inadequate ‘artificial flood’ without any guarantee of alternative means of survival.

Almost 400 organizations have signed a petition against Africa’s tallest dam, which will be delivered to Ethiopian embassies across Europe and the United States to mark World Water Day on Tuesday 22nd March.

The petition calls upon the Ethiopian government to ‘suspend the Gibe III dam project on the Omo River unless and until it obtains the free, prior and informed consent of the affected tribes to the project’.

Join them by participating in the following actions:

Related Reading:
10 Ways To Celebrate World Water Day!
Easy Ways To Conserve Water And Save Money
It’s World Water Week: For Just $1 You Can Make A Difference

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Image: Gibe 3 reservoir site in Ethiopia
Credit: International Rivers

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55 comments

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7:02PM PST on Nov 6, 2013

Signed and shared! Hope that this dam is stopped permanently.

6:31AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

signed

12:41PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

signed

8:29PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

signed

2:27PM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Signed.

7:38AM PDT on Mar 25, 2011

We keep losing immense bodies of knowledge by destroying indigenous caretakers who have extensive knowledge of local flora, fauna, climate, weather, etc. Foreigners should not be allowed to illegally raid counties of their wealth and knowledge.

12:02AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

thanks for sharing

1:51AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Governments almost never ask the Indigenous tribes of their country about how it will affect them, they just go ahead and do what they want. This is such a bad idea...

1:40AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

I guess everything comes with a hefty price tag and unforeseen costs and consequences.

1:11AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Many seem to not be very well-informed about the consequences these mega-dams have. Those people living in the original area don't even get compensated in this case. The main point is that the original people living in an area never benefit from the dams after construction. What is worse is that it doesn't comply with the world authority on dams.

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