5 Ways You Did Not Know The GERD Will Help Lives
The GERD is a promise to improve the many poverty-stricken lives in Ethiopia and its neighborhood. This article looks into how realistic the grand promises are.
As we all know, one of the most important things for the well-being of every family is freshwater and electricity. People everywhere rely on the government to provide these necessities. Throughout the years, the scarcity of freshwater resources has proved debilitating to the economic progress. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is significant for the elimination of poverty in this country. Ethiopia still has a per household income of $790, despite its rapid financial growth over the past 20 years. The country is still far from developed when it comes to infrastructure and energy sources.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, with a projected capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts. To eradicate poverty, Ethiopia’s developmental plans prioritized hydropower projects as drivers for development and regional integration. In this context, the GERD is central to Ethiopia’s development vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2023–25 (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 2010) and Africa’s energy hub. Ethiopia’s electricity exports are expected to increase tremendously when the GERD is commissioned to secure more hard currency for the Ethiopian government.
Besides the typical advantages of providing millions with electricity and a new income source for the country, the GERD has many untapped benefits for our country and its neighbors.
1. Maximum conservation
The GERD will be able to handle a flood of 19,370 cubic meters per second, reducing alluvium in Sudan by 100 million cubic meters and facilitating irrigation of approximately 500,000ha of new agricultural lands. When completed, it will also reduce flooding by about 40 kilometers in Sudan.
The Renaissance dam's regulated water flow will improve agriculture. In addition, the impact of evaporation from the dam will be minimal when compared to other dams in Ethiopia, assisting in water conservation. Water evaporation from the Aswan High Dam in Egypt and other dams in Ethiopia amounts to approximately 19 billion cubic meters. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will reduce the capacity of the Aswan High Dam, saving around 6 billion cubic meters of water. The dam will also serve as a bridge across the Blue Nile, which currently has few bridges and even fewer pedestrian bridges.
2. Health factors
The clean water provided by GERD will help reduce the spread of illness. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopian officials are concerned about access to clean water. Hand washing is critical when dealing with most viral and other infectious diseases. However, this cannot happen without clean water. Addis Ababa has over 4.8 million residents, who are well aware of the city's periodic water shortages. Completing the GERD will reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses.
3. Cost efficiency
For hundreds of years, the Nile would overflow with rainwater. Along its banks, this created fertile conditions for harvesting. Locally, the advantages of the Nile continue to be essential for agriculture. Though modern irrigation has replaced the utility of yearly floods. The Nile is an important source of drinking water, agriculture, and hydropower for the 11 nations along its banks.
This is not without its disadvantages. Sedimentation clogs and irrigation channels influence the efficiency of hydropower plants’ efficiency. The dam will play a critical role in reducing sedimentation within the Blue Nile. The GERD will reduce the price of building new waterways and get rid of the requirement for new machines.
The GERD may also regulate the flow of the Blue Nile. The dam is designed to handle the effects of drought and manage flooding during heavier rains. Farmers will have a defined schedule rather than being at the mercy of the elements.
4. Gradual power generation
Ethiopia launched the second turbine power generator within the Blue Nile Mega Dam on 11 August 2022. With the first generator launched on 20 February 2022, Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam now generates 375 megawatts of electricity daily. The combined power of the two turbines will create a total of 7500 MW of electrical power, equivalent to the total output from Gibe I and Gibe II power plants built upon the Omo River.
The GERD, housing 13 turbines, is ultimately expected to produce more than 5,000 megawatts, Ethiopia's current output. Peace and security are countries’ main concerns. The gradual filling and generation of power will ensure the GERD will not cause any issues with neighboring countries that are sustained by the Nile waters.
5. Ecosystem services
Hydropower is inextricable to the natural ecosystem, which provides ecosystem services. The ecosystem services are required to maintain and support the dam's water supply. In this case, the dam would be critical to properly conserving and managing the water and land resources. For example, afforestation and soil conservation have reduced sedimentation. These, in turn, will increase water flows from the dam's various tributaries. Furthermore, ecosystem services are linked to energy, water, food, and reservoir sectors.
The dam helps secure energy as well as supply and maintain water resources. Furthermore, it prevents erosion and land degradation by reducing sedimentation. Because the Blue Nile basin highlands have been affected by soil erosion, it limits abrasion and land degradation by retaining and reducing sedimentation. The ecosystem services also impact the water sector and GERD in terms of preserving water resources, improving water quality, and reducing sedimentation. It provides water for irrigation, pollination, fishery, and forestation.