“The Gibe III Dam, which is currently under construction, will disrupt the river’s annual flood cycle and lower the water levels of Lake Turkana. Critics have long feared that once the dam is built, the Ethiopian government will establish plantations in the Omo Valley and use the regulated water flow to irrigate export crops. The government dismissed such fears as baseless, and argued that the dam would not reduce the amount of water in the Omo River and Lake Turkana.
“Now that the dam is being built, the government is showing its true colors. An official map of the Lower Omo Valley delineates three blocks of land with a total of 245,000 hectares (close to 1,000 square miles) that will be turned into sugar plantations, to be managed by a state-owned sugar company. A briefing paper by the Oakland Institute, a research and advocacy organization, suggests that in addition, 11 smaller concessions have been awarded for private cotton plantations.
“Growing thirsty crops such as sugar cane and cotton for the world market does not make sense in a region that is scarce in water and prone to hunger and resource conflicts. The dam and the associated land grabs will turn the Gibe III hydropower project into a social and environmental disaster on several accounts:”
Read more: Huffington Post