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A Simple Way to Prevent African Water Wars

Ethiopia should lower the height of its Renaissance saddle dam to defuse the water crisis, says Nader Noureddine.

The first stage of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam project is fast approaching its end. At 70 metres high, the dam is just 25 metres shy of the target for this stage of the project. Come June, it will be able to store the 14 billion cubic metres (BCM) of river water needed to kick the first turbines into action.

With two out of the 16 planned turbines up and running, the dam will generate 700 megawatts of electricity per year. And by late 2017, all turbines will produce 6,000 megawatts of power, drawing on a reservoir of up to 74.5 billion cubic metres. The dam will be 145 metres tall — one and a half times the height of Victoria Falls on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border.

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