“Distinctive Features of Hydroelectric Power Construction on Trans-Boundary Rivers.” The First Public Lecture of the Year 2009 E.C. Held.

The first EAS Public Lecture of the Year 2009 E.C. in a monthly series was held on October 6, 2016 at the Addis Ababa University Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) Auditorium. The Public Lecture was titled “Distinctive Features of Hydroelectric Power Construction on Trans-Boundary Rivers”. Engineer Gedion Asfaw, Chairman of the Tripartite National Committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, delivered the Public Lecture.

Professor Alemayehu Tefera, Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the Engineering Working Group, chaired the lecture.

The Public Lecture begun by introducing the title and the three major examples of trans-boundary rivers in Ethiopia and hydroelectric power constructions on the rivers. Engineer Gedion mentioned The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on Abay River, The Omo Gibe Dams project on The Omo River and the Genale Dawa project on Genale Dawa River as the major hydroelectric power constructions on the trans-boundary rivers of Ethiopia.

Furthermore, building dams as sources of electricity and water has become a necessity for many nations around the globe. Shortage of fresh water, limited water storage capacity of nations and desperate and ever increasing need for hydroelectric power were mentioned as to why constructing dams is becoming a priority among many nations. However, constructing dams on trans-boundary rivers has very serious challenges. Countries have been negotiating their needs and on how they can effectively utilize these rivers without compromising the needs of the other nations. Hence, various negotiations have resulted in conventions on the use of the trans-boundary rivers.

Engineer Gedion concluded that Ethiopia has been constructing dams on many of its rivers over the years. The country could benefit a great deal from hydroelectric power projects. Despite the pressure of downstream countries, Ethiopia needs to address its power needs. Moreover, Engineer Gedion emphasized that hydroelectric power projects on trans-boundary rivers require in-depth understanding and rigorous research and studies regarding the benefits and consequences on peoples of all concerned nations.

Governmental and non-governmental organization representatives, universities and high school students, researchers, stakeholders of various hydroelectric projects in the country, EAS and EtYAS Fellows and individuals of the general public attended the Public Lecture.