Gilgel Gibe 3 Hydro Power Dam, Ethiopia

Located Southwest of Addis Ababa on the Omo River, the Gibe 3 dam is being built for hydropower generation purpose, that will more than double electricity provision in Ethiopia and for export. The dam will affect an area characterized by conflict rooted in food and water insecurity.
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Basic Data
NameGilgel Gibe 3 Hydro Power Dam, Ethiopia
ProvinceSouth Western Ethiopia
SiteSouthwest of Addis Ababa, on the Omo River
Accuracy of LocationLOW country/state level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Water access rights and entitlements
Specific CommoditiesCarbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
Gibe 3 is a roller compacted concrete hydropower plant - the tallest in Africa: Having a height of 243m and total installed capacity of 1870MW. Storage capacity: 11.75 billion m3 (415 billion ft3) Surface: 211 km2 (84 miles2) Length: 151 km (94 miles) Transmission Line A 65 km (40 mile) 400 KV line.
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Level of Investment (in USD)$4.1 billion
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesEthiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) from Ethiopia
Salini Costruttori from Italy
Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) from South Africa
Dongfang Electric Machinery Corp from China
Goldman Sachs
American Express
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Italy, Government of Kenya
International and Financial InstitutionsAfrican Development Bank (AfDB)
European Investment Bank (EIB)
World Bank (WB)
Commerzbank from Germany
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China from China
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of Lake Turkana, International Rivers
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Development of AlternativesIn a 2006 report, EEPco itself outlined wind as a sustainable consistent source of energy for nine months of the year, as opposed to water tables.

EJOs request consultations with downstream Ethiopian and Kenyan affected communities; and a public debate about the countrys energy sector planning.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Dam construction has been halted on 6th May 2013 because of construction and environmental issues. However, in June 2014, Ethiopia rejected renewed calls for suspension of the construction of Gibe III dam as it prepares to start filling the reservoir.
Sources and Materials

Ethiopias Lower Omo Valley', International Rivers report
[click to view]

'When water ends' doc movie, Evan Abramson
[click to view]

'Facing Gibe 3 Dam: Indigenous Communities of


'Ethiopia’s Gibe III Hydropower Completion Likely to Delay'
[click to view]

International Rivers
[click to view]

International Rivers
[click to view]

Stop Gibe3 Campaign
[click to view]

'Ethiopias Controversial Gibe III Mega-Dam'
[click to view]

The Guardian
[click to view]

[click to view]

Media Links

StopGibe3 campaign
[click to view]

Tevon Dubois blog
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorPatrick Bond
Last update08/09/2014