Large-scale hydroelectric dams are not economically viable in a vast majority of cases and can seriously damage emerging economies, according to new research.
A team at Oxford University said countries pursuing projects – including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Pakistan – risk saddling themselves with “serious debt owing to ill-advised construction”.
The Saїd Business School based its study on data from 245 large dams in 65 countries. The findings show the construction costs are on average 90%-plus higher than their budgets at the time of approval, in real terms.
This is before accounting for “negative impacts on human society and environment and without including the effects of inflation and debt servicing”, the researchers added.
The study also found that the magnitude of cost overruns has not declined over time and “dam budgets today are as wrong as at any time during the 70 years for which data exists”.
In the case of Brazil’s Itaipu dam, built in the 1970s, there was a 240%-plus cost overrun that impaired the nation’s public finances for three decades. Itaipu will most likely never pay back the costs incurred to build it.
Nevertheless, Brazil is currently building the Belo Monte hydro project, which “has proved non-viable even before opening”. The researchers also warn that “China, Indonesia, Pakistan and other nations show similar amnesic behaviour regarding the building of dams”.
Costs aside, mega-dams also take an inordinately long time to build, some 8.2 years on average and often more than 10 years.
Report co-author Dr Atif Ansar said: ‘Proponents of mega-dams tend to focus on rare stories of success in order to get their pet projects approved. The purported success of the Hoover dam in the USA, for example, is an often-heard argument in favour of building new large dams.
“Instead of relying on the outcome of just one project, decision makers should consider evidence for the entire population. In the case of large dams, the probability of failure dominates.
“If leaders of emerging economies are truly interested in the welfare of their citizens, they are better off laying grand visions of mega-dams aside.”
Image: the Hoover project in the US is often touted as an argument for hydroelectric dam development (Wikimedia Commons)
The direct effect the Chinese tree Gorge Dams is drought, land sliding, and drying of lakes. This will be the best warning for the Ethiopian Dam rug Melse Zenawie from stopping to dam the Nile and the Omo rivers with consequences of drying Lake Tana and Turkana. Nile its source is the Lake Tana the only life giving lake to Egypt, while Omo is the life line for Lake Turkana in Kenya.
Poyang Lake just months ago but now is a dry ocean of green grass because of China’s worst drought in decades the main culprit is the three Gorge dams, soon the same will be for Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Turkana in Kenya due the Death Dams of the Nile and Omo rivers constructed with the help the China.
As that of Poyang shrinks to a tenth its usual size, crops wither and millions of people go thirsty, critics point to the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam as one cause, making it a symbol of the risks of the country’s dream of Mega dams not only in China but also in the drought stricken Horn of Africa.
Many villagers environmental scientists suspect the dam not only withholds water from the Yangtze River downstream, but could also be altering weather patterns, contributing to the lowest rainfall some areas have seen in a half-century or more. The same type of drought due to the Gibe I,II,III dams has rekindle a tribal war in Lake Turkana region of Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Chinese government in the opposite to its Ethiopian counterpart , though in the beginning denies that Three Gorges can cause droughts but has acknowledged some of its environmental problems in a debate that highlights China’s reliance on such showcase projects to sustain its economic boom.
The Three Gorges Dam, like the Ethiopian coming Nile Millennium & gibe III Dams, is the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant is a way to control flooding along the Yangtze and generate massive power for the country’s ravenous industries.
The government already has used up 80 percent of the reserves in the 410-mile-long (660-kilometer-long) reservoir by releasing extra water to relieve drought conditions downstream. When it comes to the future Ethiopian Nile & Omo Dam planed in the image of the Three Gorges Dam will dry up the two rivers irreversibly.
The Yangtze’s levels have fallen enough to threaten shipping both upstream and downstream as far as Shanghai, where high salt tides threaten drinking water supplies for its 23 million residents. Once the Ethiopian Millennium Dam is over the Sudanese and Egyptian must prepare to use another means of transport since the Nile will cease to Exist if any Egypt is left without the Nile.
The dam rather than producing great energy as dreamed by the Chinese engineers the waning hydroelectric capacity are expected to deepen in the hottest days of summer. If it continues at the present rhythm many farmers have to abandon their dried ponds and fields, prices for food are surging, defying Beijing’s efforts to bring down already stubbornly high inflation. Today China Luks water to sustain its 1.3 billion people. The Three gorge dams seems accelerating the end of China’s high growth since the government has exhausted its natural environmental reserve to fall back .
The Chinese State Council admitted that the $23 billion Three Gorges project has caused a slew of environmental, geologic and economic problems. Urgent action is needed to reduce risks of natural disasters such as landslides and alleviate poverty among the 1.4 million people forced to relocate, while their new won satellite state of Ethiopia led by Melse Zenawie refused to recognize the resent drought in Turkana region is caused by the Gibe dams of Omo river.
More and more Chinese farmers and fisherman’s in the lake Poyang and around the country that the dam causes drought. China’s leaders like their Ethiopian counterpart are very sensitive when one criticizes their Megalomaniac Death Dams. People’s Daily like most of the Ethiopians state run Journals recently declared that – “No evidence supports the theory that the Three Gorges causes droughts.”
Dam can altering the humidity of an area and affect local rainfall . According to Kenneth Pomeranz, the University of California’s specialist on the Chinese Water’s conclusion on the Apocalyptic three Gorge Dams as a “big Rube Goldberg contraption.”
“All the pieces have to work or you’ve got big problems. Obviously one of those pieces is that you have to have guessed right about the water supply in the Yangtze basin. If it doesn’t have as much water as was thought, you have to give it up.
Like 6650 km long Nile, to Sudan and Egypt, Yangtze the 6,300 km waterway provides about a fifth of China’s economic activity and two-thirds of its inland shipping. Since Three Apocalyptic Three Gorge Dams completion, the region around Poyang Lake has dried out. With the completion of the Ethiopian Millennium Death Dams not only Ethiopia but Egypt and Sudan will revive the Biblical Famine due to the coming unfrequented droughts.
According to Jacques Leslie building dams around the Equator will disequilibrate the earth’s magnetic tilt in his recent conferences. The Ethiopian Dictator must be stopped before he does un reparable damage to the planets magnetic equilibrium.
The Kenyans are learning from the spirit of Chileans recent uprising in Andes region to stop the construction of Mega dams are now preparing to fight the Ethiopian mad dictator and their rulers from drying out Lake Turkana and exterminating the riparian Omotic population. The Gibe dams on Omo River have a direct responsibility for the drought and the conflict in the Lake Turkana region between the tribes men in the region recently. Since the 2006 the date the Dams start taking direct effect the region which is deprived of its annual water flow and precipitation. Drought and grazing land conflict has become a daily phenomenon due to the artificial control of the river Omo and luck of sufficient resources which used to depend entire on the river. The Omotic population has lost its natural cycle of gazing their herds. Now the cyclic floods in the region have been stopped by the Ethiopian dictator Megalomaniac dams. Another destructive controversial project project has been prepared to be building on the Nile which will cease the cyclic flooding of the Nile in Egypt too. The Water dictator must be stop before he killed millions around the Horn of Africa by undo control of the rare floods.
The true leaders of democratically elected northern Kenya MPs have vowed to stop the construction of Gibe III hydroelectric power in Ethiopia. Joseph Lekuton(Laisamis) Ekwee Ethuro(Turkana Central), Chachu Ganya (North Horr) and Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth called on the people of Loiyangalani to back their protests to stop Ethiopia’s power plans. “The contract signed between the Kenyan and Ethiopia government to supply us with electricity should be revoked. People are dying due to lack of resources provided by the waters of Lake Turkana,” Lekuton said.”There is enough wind and solar that can generate electricity for the Turkana people. We do not need to sign a contract with our neighbor so that they can supply us with electricity while we are capable of generating our own,” he added. Ganya said: “Gibe dam will be fought to the end” Ethiopia too must use wind, solar and thermal energy than damming the rivers and kill starve million in riparian countries. We have seen recently the conflict has already sparked in northern Kenya as direct effect of the Damming in Ethiopia.
Gibe III is in its final construction stages though it was stopped by the recent collapse of the 26 meter tunnel built in the fault seismic tectonic lines . Gibe III is the last generation of hydroelectric power on the Omo River in Ethiopia which will dry up Lake Turkana for good. Since Omo River drains its waters into Lake Turkana, the biggest desert lake in the world. This death dam once completed it would be the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa with a power output of about 1870 Megawatts which has no immediate utility in Ethiopia except exporting it to Kenya with a direct quenceqence eradicating its population in Lake Turkana.
As of July 2010, the project was 38% complete drastically stopped due to the tunnel collapse. The completion of the Gibe II Death Dam was scheduled for July 2013. Full commissioning is scheduled for June 2013 after the reservoir is filled with water and the plant completed. Local and international environmentalists have raised concerns over the negative social and economic impacts of the dam.
Ethiopia’s plan to build Gibe III Dam now threatens food security and local economies that support more than half a million people in southwest Ethiopia and along the shores of Lake Turkana.
Turkana South MP Josephat Nanok urged locals to “choose the right leaders” especially after the recent attack of Turkana people in Todonyang at the Kenyan- Ethiopian border. The MPs made their plans known at the fourth Lake Turkana festival at Loiyangalani at the weekend.
The Ethiopian dictator must be stopped before creating undue havoc by constructing mega dams which are destructive to human and environments of the region. Ethiopia and Kenya does not need a mega dams rather sleeping turbines or dams at human level rather than having inhuman megalomaniac ones. It advisable to have many small level dams to furnish the meager deeds of electricity agricultural Ethiopia if we have to build one . But it is advisable to completely to abandon the spirit of Dam in the region with a fragile Sahelian dry ecosystem. Ethiopia is endowed with thermo and wind power to be exploited. If Ethiopian dictator continue damming Omo river the already diminishing Lake Turkana will surely dry up…
The Best Example of Kenyan Geothermal is the example to be followed by the Ethiopian dictator rather than daming the rivers of Ethiopia which the life line of the people of Eastern Africa including Egypt:-
“It‘s the most beautiful place, I believe, on the planet,” said Kennedy, who kayaks there every year. “I –don’t know any place like Patagonia.“
Robert F. Kennedy Jr, a lawyer for the US-based National Resources Defense Council, appealed to Pinera to call off the project
Chilean environmentalists are fighting to stop the deadly dams to be constructed in the Andean glaciers to the Pacific Ocean through green valleys and fjords, while the Ethiopian dictator is preparing to build a deadly dam that will endanger million of lives of the riparian nations. The Pacified Ethiopian are forced to endorese the Death dam which will be the instrument to sell their fertile lands.
In contrary to Ethiopia Chile is a nation with its energy-intensive mining industry clamoring for more power and living standards improving, while Ethiopia is damming its rivers for the land Grabbers not even the local energy consumption. This $7-billion project to dam two of the world’s wildest rivers for electricity has won environmental approval Monday from a Chilean government commission despite a groundswell of opposition while the Ethiopian dictatorial regime is not even take any measure to seek any environmental tests.
It was hidden as project X by the Ethiopian Dictator. The Chili and political appointees in the democratically elected President Sebastian Pinero’s government – concluded a three-year environmental review by approving five dams on the Baker and Pascua rivers in Aysen, a mostly road less region of remote southern Patagonia where rainfall is nearly constant and rivers plunge which will definitively destroy the last remaining wonders of the Earth.
The Chilean dams all together could generate 2.75 gig watts, nearly a third of central Chile’s current capacity, within 12 years while the megalomaniac Ethiopian Nile Death dam is suppose to produce Upon completion, will have an electric generation capacity of 6,000MW, three times more than the combined capacity of all Ethiopia’s existing dams.
When we go back to Chile the dams would drown 14,000 acres (5,700 hectares), require carving clear-cuts through forests, and eliminate whitewater rapids and waterfalls that attract ecotourism. Aysen region, while the Ethiopian gigantic dam will cover two time the Lake Tana which is from 3,000 to 3,500 km² according to the rainy seasons.
In Chile the Dam would destroy habitat for the endangered Southern Huemul deer: Fewer than 1,000 of the diminutive animals, while in the Nile Valley of Ethiopia an estimated Number of Flora and Fauna will be lost forever to come. In the contrary to the Chilean the Ethiopian dam will endanger the Lives of the people in Nile basin countries.
The Investors have spent Chile over $220 million on the project so far, but opposition has grown to 61 per cent of Chileans according to the latest Ipsos Public Affairs poll, and the government is concerned about a backlash. The Ethiopians even do not have a true democracy like that of Chile and are forced to accept whatever the Dictator dictates which Chile experienced a despotic regimes of the General in her recent past.
The Ethiopian the dam is contracted by Italian company Salini Costruttori for €3,350bln ($4,916bln). The Dam will be the biggest hydroelectric plants ever built in Africa, producing 5250 MW. Apart from forced contributions by Ethiopian institutions and citizens, there are serious suspicions that the Ethiopian Government will not be able to fund the work.
“The provenience of most funding for this and other Ethiopian Dams is utterly unclear,” declared an ex-officer of the Italian Cooperation in Ethiopia who refused to be credited.
Chile is the world’s largest copper producer and e recently approved Latin America’s largest coal-fired plant, to power a mine near the northern deserts. Two other coal plants received the okay on Friday. Thus its power grid has recently been under increased strain compared to the Ethiopian embryonic mining industry, where the dam is destined just for the land grabbers. Again the Chilean government is not selling its fertile land for land Grabbers while Ethiopia has already sold most of its cultivable land to the foreign investors at the same time over 3 million Ethiopian are starving of death.
In contrary to the Ethiopian death Dam which will end killing millions, the Chilean HidroAysen is suppose to help Chile to receive the cheapest, cleanest electricity possible? Though Several Chilean energy experts also dismissed solar as uncompetitive and years away from relevancy, a huge US$2.2 billion, 2.6 gigawatt solar project being built in the Mojave desert with private money and US government guarantees The latter will be the best example to the Ethiopians to learn from rather than building a destructive death dam and create undue conflict with the neighboring countries.
Great dam are highly environmental risks and catastrophic with moving tectonic regions and earth quake prone countries like Ethiopia and Chile. Westerners that had build greet dams in the past have proved highly risky to the surrounding population as seen in China and the Us in recent years with the increasing floods and earth quakes.
Today’s earth quake of magnitude 4.4 moved the Red Sea which is a prelude for the making of Eastern African ocean. It has a direct impact on the different dams which are in construction in the Horn of Africa, especially that of the Millennium “Death Dam” in the the Nile region of Ethiopia. This the second earth quake in the region since the start of the Death Dam. On March 31 st Magnitude 4.6 – hit Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti border on Afar depression. This is the region where the new ocean is in formation. It is high risk for the population in the area to peruse damming by the dictatorial regime of Ethiopia especially the Omotic population in the rift Vally. The Afar region of Ethiopia is plate form of a living volcano preparing the breaking of the continent for the creation of this new ocean of Ethiopia. It takes only a dictator to try to build dams on the splitting plates of Eastern Africa trying to connect two separating plates with with a cement. Last year a 26 km tunnel collapsed on the Omo Dam known as Gibe due to the earth’s movement on its diverging eastern African plates .
The Ethiopian Pharaoh, the shameless Melese Zenawie announced publically he will continue to pursue the building of the death dam on the river Omo and on the source of the Blue Nile. He called the people riparians as Butterflies to be eliminated. This is his official defiant declaration even after the African Development Bank and the European Bank blocked his megalomaniac dreams of water power financing at the expense of the people of Egypt, Southern Ethiopia and Kenya. His Dam on omo river will obliged the Kenyans to use the rest of the rivers that otherwise would have streamed to Egypt in their land, since Lake Turkana soon will dry immidately after the finishing of the Gebe III.
Dictator’s raged victory of the election of 23 May 2010, with dumped result of over 99% of the vote was a mock to all democracy loving nations. He publically insulted the US dam and that of the Survival international in the video here in Amharic below. He staged a demonstration in Washington DC to force the US government to change position against Egypt and support his megalomaniac damming projects over the Nile head waters. Melese the Sick Man of the Horn of Africa does not care for any environment destruction of the Ethiopian water basin. Melese to our surprise and that of the whole world was elected to represent the African continent on the international meetings where he produced a shameful result.
Melese Zenewie the Genocidal- Megalomaniac-Raciest-Mad Man must be halted before he destroys the region by war and unprecedented conflict through environmental cataclysm. This could be done by collective intervention supported by the UN. The UN Security Council must consider this sick man in power seriously than any eventual atomic treat in any part of the world. Since he actively produces destruction by proxy terrorism in Somalia, damming in most radical and expedient manor, by financing his way to power through famine and keep perpetuating the death of millions through endemic hunger.
European Investment Bank abandons Ethiopia mega dam5 August 2010
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced it is no longer considering funding Africa’s tallest dam, in Ethiopia. The hydroelectric dam, called Gibe III, has drawn international criticism because of the devastating effect it is likely to have on the food security of at least eight Ethiopian tribes.
In a statement, the EIB claims to have withdrawn from Gibe III because the Ethiopian government has found alternative funding sources for the dam. However the ICBC, the state-owned Chinese bank recently discussed as a potential funder, recently made it clear that the deal is not yet settled and far from guaranteed.
Before stepping back from Gibe III, the EIB completed a review of existing environment and social impact studies for the dam. The review confirms concerns from Survival and others that the lives of the tribes living in the Lower Omo Valley, downstream of Gibe III, will be fundamentally altered and their food security threatened if the dam is complete. The study also acknowledges that these tribes have not been adequately consulted.
The Lower Omo River in south west Ethiopia is home to eight different tribes whose population is about 200,000. They have lived there for centuries.
However the future of these tribes lies in the balance. A massive hydro-electric dam, Gibe III, is under construction on the Omo. When completed it will destroy a fragile environment and the livelihoods of the tribes, which are closely linked to the river and its annual flood.
Salini Costruttori, an Italian company, started construction work on the Gibe III dam at the end of 2006, and has already built a third of it.
China’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), has agreed to fund part of the construction of the dam. The Ethiopian government has also asked the African Development Bank and the Italian government to fund Gibe III, and they are expected to make a decision soon.
Survival and various regional and international organisations believe that the Gibe IIIDam will have catastrophic consequences for the tribes of the Omo River, who already live close to the margins of life in this dry and challenging area.
We are calling on the African Development Bank and other potential funders not to support this project until a complete and independent social and environmental impact study is carried out and the tribal peoples have been fully consulted and given their free informed and prior consent.
While inaugurating the new Saft el-Laban corridor in Giza, President Mubarak assured that Nile water “will not extend beyond Egyptian borders.”
Mubarak further called for making optimal use of Nile water, carrying out seawater desalination projects, and using modern technology to develop new types of crops that can be irrigated with salt water in order to satisfy the growing demand for food.
Diaa Eddin al-Qoussi, former advisor to the minister of irrigation, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Mubarak’s statements clearly demonstrate that Egypt will not give up its Nile water quota in order to satisfy Israel. He added that Mubarak’s statements further emphasize that Egypt rejects any negotiations which aim to bring Nile water to Israel.
Maghawri Shehata Diab, former president of Minufiya University and a water expert, said Mubarak’s statements reflect a clear understanding of the geographical nature of the Nile Basin, as well as of the political and legal dimensions governing the distribution of water.
In related news, Kenya has announced that it is carrying out an assessment of the impact of Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam. The dam, intended to generate hydroelectric power, would become the second largest dam in Africa after Egypt’s High Dam in Aswan.
The massive dam is scheduled to be completed by 2012 at an estimated cost of US$1.76 billion. Construction of the dam is mainly financed by the African Development Bank. The World Bank withdrew funding for the project under pressure from non-governmental organizations.
The dam will generate 1,800 megawatts of electricity, according to the Ethiopian government, which also says that Kenya has pledged to purchase some of the energy produced by the dam. As a result, Kenyan environmental groups have accused their government of taking greater interest in the well-being of Ethiopians.
The Ethiopian government says that environmental impact studies have shown that the dam will not negatively impact life in any local communities.
The Kenyan Minister of Power said that the Kenyan government and the European Investment Bank will both study the impact of the dam. The results of both studies will be submitted to the Kenyan government in December.
The Kenyan government’s decision to examine the potential impact of building the dam came in response to local and international pressure from rights groups. These groups cited Egypt’s threat of military intervention if Ethiopia carried out any projects that would intervene with the flow of the Blue Nile.