Great Rift Valley Project

Posted by Freddy on Feb-20-2010

Dams and hydroelectric projects are constructed to fulfill our needs. These hydroelectric projects are generally considered as environmental friendly because it represents a clean and renewal energy source. These projects are made with huge promises throwing light on the reward alone.

Gilgel Gibe, Ethiopia’s newest and biggest hydroelectric power station was built in Africa’s Great Rift Valley and is considered as an outstanding engineering achievement because it cuts through complex geological formations. Despite of all its outstanding construction still it was shut down due to a tunnel collapse weeks after its inauguration. The hydropower project was surrounded by controversy since its inception.

Numerous fault points which in the beginning went unnoticed and were not highlighted in the impact of environmental studies were later found to be as the main faults behind the tunnel collapse. The tunnel is built on a seismic area which is a fault. The tunnel is built on 26 different fault points. The dam failures have been some of the largest man made disasters in history. A good design and construction are not adequate guarantee of safety, sometimes some geological eruptions can pull down them down.

Apart from all these factors these have many environmental issues related to them. These hydroelectric power plants result in submersion of extensive areas upstream of the dams, destroying biologically rich and productive lowland and riverine valley forests, marshland and grasslands.

Critics are having a closer look on the evaluation of the project and are urging a closer look at it environmental impact and urging international financial institutions not to fund its completion. But these evaluations should have been done even before the funding the project. The project might have scrutinized by the evaluators before taking the decisions as these projects incur huge cost.

Most of the issues are roused due to the lack of study done before implementing the project. While evaluating these projects the advantages and disadvantages should be looked in properly to avoid these kinds of concerns. A proper and impartial study can avoid such issues in future. It’s like the two sides of coin which has to be identified and evaluated properly. Despite of repetitive snag and warning the faults are repeated.

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