Local cement factories have had samples taken to find out if their product can resist the moisture around the Gibe III dam.
The goal is to find suitable cement for the dam locally and not go for import.
Government owned Mugher Cement has begun work to produce a type of cement which is usually imported for the Roller Compact Concrete (RCC) dam.
20,000tns of imported Ordinary Portland (OPC) and Slag cement which is not affected by heat is being used for the foundation of the RCC dam.
According to Gosaye Mengistie Director of Energy Studies and Development Follow up at the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), the placement of the Roller Compact Concrete (RCC) has recently begun after the excavation and clearing works were completed. The dam is expected to need up to 10,000tns of cement per month.
Gosaye also told Capital that the Gibe III 1,870 MWs Hydro electric power project which has already more than 48 percent of the work finished so far, and 60 percent of the project is expected to be completed during the current 2011/12 Ethiopian fiscal year. The dam is expected to be one of the largest in Africa with a total height of 243 meters.
The civil construction work of the RCC dam and powerhouse is being handled by the Italian Construction SaliniCostruttori S.P.A, while the electromechanical and Hydraulics steel structure is being built by the Chinese firm Dongfang Electric International. Inspection engineers from the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) and from the contractor Salini went to China to asses Turbine and Generators that going to be used for the dam.
The consultant company for the project is a French firm named Coyne et Bellier together with an Italian firm named Electro.
Explaining that the dam will not have an adverse effect, Gosaye said that Turkana lake is fluctuating by an average of 1.5 to 4 meters annually and its levels are dropping due to changes in climate.
Gosaye also said that the dam is going to prevent seasonal floods that used to ravage people downstream and around the lake.
He said seasonal fluctuation of the Omo River will be only 0.25 meters annually. Previously water levels rose up to four meters annually, he argued. Eight major studies have been done by local and international consultants and the adverse effects discovered were insignificant or non-existent he further said. The lake will also be a tourist attraction, a source of fish for the local community and help replace the 4.5 million tons of CO2 emission per year.
The Gibe III 1,870 MW hydro electric power project was signed in 2006 between the Ethiopian government and Salini Costruttori S.P.A. It has 10 generating units that can produce 1,870 MW. The project is located in Omo River Valley 400Km south of Addis Ababa.
It currently employs five thousand people with the workforce expected to increase eventually to six thousand.