ADDIS ABABA – Gibe III hydropower dam’s reservoir has now been filled with water 6 meters higher than expected, according to the Ethiopian Electric Power.
Three years ago, a drop in water levels in Gibe 3 dam had led to a deficit of 476 megawatts, forcing the country to ration electricity for domestic and industrial customers.
This will not happen this year after the water level in the dam, built in Omo river, hit the heist peak in recent years.
The water level has jumped from 862 to 868 meters, said Niguse Meshesha, Gibe III Power Plant CEO’s representative, in an interview with state-run news agency.
The scenario will help authorities to increase the electric power to be generated from the plant whose electric production capacity usually drops at this time of the year.
The rise in the level of water is higher than what has been observed over the last four years, boosting authorities’ effort to export power to neighboring Kenya.
Ethiopian Electric Power Planning Executive Andualem Sia said all possible ways have been employed this year to increase the water level of the dam.
This will be helpful not only for the current but also for the upcoming Ethiopian budget year to produce sustainable energy, Andualem pointed out.
Furthermore, he stated that it will also serve as a contingent plan to avoid power interruption and continue electric export.
Officials are also preparing for the worst scenario in case the water level continues to increase.
Last year, officials released water to maintain the safety of the dam, after level reached 892 meters during the longest rainy season of the country.
Tributaries of the dam are expected to bring more water during the current rainy season as well, according to officials.
Negussie said residents of the South Omo, particularly Dasenech and Omerate Woredas as well as sugar factories need to be careful of possible floods.
Gibe III has the capacity of producing 1,870 MegaWatt electric power and will continue to be the major source of electricity for Ethiopia until the completion of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.