Fana: At a Speed of Life!

Kesem Dam to resume operation in full capacity within a year

Addis Ababa, January 1, 2024 (FBC) – The Kesem Dam built in Afar regional state in Ethiopia will resume operation with full capacity within one year, Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands disclosed.

The Government Communication Service organized media tour to grasp the progress of irrigation development and watershed activities being carried out in the Middle Awash in Afar region.

Kesem Dam was built by the former Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC) to cultivate sugarcane for the Kesem Sugar Factory and encourage other irrigation development activities in the lowlands of Afar Region.

The project was designed to hold 500 million cubic meters of water for irrigation and reduce the risk of flooding in the area.

However, Head of the Middle Awash Irrigation and Lowland Branch Office at the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands, Bekele Bergena, said the dam has been causing risks of flooding on the community residing in the area for its saddle dam and water controlling gates were not properly functional.

He also added that when the completion of the construction of the dam was announced, many of civil engineering and electro-mechanical works were not actually completed, which prevented the dam from achieving its intended purpose.

When the dam was built, it was designed to develop 20 hectares of land, but due to unfinished works, it was not possible to get the desired benefits, the head stated.

The dam is currently holding only 380 million cubic meters out of the 500 million cubic meters of water it supposed to hold, he said.

Currently, the risk of flooding has been resolved by enabling the saddle dam and control gates operate properly, he said.

Efforts have also been underway to swiftly complete the unfinished civil engineering and electro-mechanical works in collaboration with the community with a view to making the dam functional.

He said up on the completion of the project 20,000 hectares of land can be irrigated, he said adding, the construction of infrastructures vital to the dam will be completed within one year.

State Minister for the Government Communication Service, Selamawit Kassa said on her part the government is intensifying efforts to ensure that big irrigation development projects like Kesem are fully operational.

She said due to the utmost attention given by the government to complete the projects by addressing the administrative, financial and other related bottlenecks, tangible changes have been recorded.

Noting the middle Awash is blessed with water resources, fertile land, and human power, she said the government is working hard to improve the lives of citizens and develop the country’s economy.


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