Africa’s fourth-largest lake could drop by 20 metres, causing an ecological and human disaster to rival the shrinking of the Aral Sea in central Asia, if Ethiopia goes ahead with massive irrigation projects linked to a giant dam, according to a university paper….Lake
Turkana, located almost entirely in Kenya but fed by the river Omo,
which rises in Ethiopia, will be severely impacted by the 243 metre-high
Gibe III dam, which is due to be completed this year, says the study,
published by the University of Oxford’s African Studies Centre. It suggests water levels could drop by half, devastating the lake’s fisheries and affecting the livelihoods of 170,000 agro-pastoralists.
…. protests outside the Chinese embassy in Nairobi, with campaigners calling on
Beijing to halt funding for the scheme. Angelei says the Nairobi
government is divided on the issue, but that at least protests are legal
in Kenya, unlike in Ethiopia, and she urges donors to heed Human Rights Watch’s concerns that “funds given to Ethiopia are not used to oppress its people”….Although
progress on Gibe III has been considerably delayed by funding
constraints, China signed a memorandum of understanding last year to
finance construction on another mega dam on the Omo, Gibe IV, and plans
further dams on the Blue Nile as well.
Ethiopia’s plans for
constructing dams on the Nile have traditionally met with robust
opposition from Egypt, which has tried to maintain control of more than
half of the Nile’s flow through the colonial era Nile Waters Agreement, as well as through threats of armed force.…Perhaps
reflecting Cairo’s recent decline as regional strongman, Burundi last
week joined five other upstream nations in the new Nile Basin Initiative,
creating the two-thirds majority of riverine states required to put the
new treaty into force, and thereby effectively wresting control of the
Nile waters from Egypt and Sudan. It threatens Egypt’s right to 55.5bn
cubic metres annually, conferred by the previous agreement.