Tis Issat falls drying

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By Ankober (

Nom de guerre,

nom de plume )

The Blue Nile Falls are a waterfall on the Blue Nile river in Ethiopia also known as Tis Issat in Amharic are drying due to diversions to the Tis Abay hydropower stations, residents and experts from Bahir Dar confirmed. Climate change is also said to be the catalyzing factor.The Chara Chara weir, one of the dams constructed in Ethiopia, located on the main stem of the Abay River and Tana and Beles Hydro Electric Power Generation Project that has started generating 115 MW with its single turbine as part of the test trial in May 2010 are also the other major causes of the drying up.

”Abay River has become so low in level and the climatic condition and ecology of the area has been highly affected due to the diversion of the falls,Abay for tana beles hydro electric power and Chara Chara weir” the source said.

The falls, situated on the upper course of the river, about 30 kilometers downstream from the town of Bahir Darand Lake Tana and considered one of Ethiopia’s best known tourist attractions, also significantly decreased in flow, pressure and quantity. “It amazes me why the international community and environmentalist NGOs are so concerned about the building of GIbe III project negative social and environmental impacts while many residents around Abay River are being highly affected by the construction of these dams.” a hydrologist in Bahir Dar stated.

A study conducted by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd last year entitled ”Estimating environmental flow requirements downstream of the Chara Chara weir on the Blue Nile River ” asserts that The local community also complain that they have no access to electricity, despite the fact that the power stations are located very close to their village. Furthermore development opportunities (e.g. a school and clinic), promised when Tis Abay-II was built, have not been forthcoming. Consequently, many people living in the village closest to the power station feel that they have gained nothing and have in fact lost as a consequence of the construction of the weir and the power stations (Gebre et al., 2008).

The Paper concluded ” there is little doubt that operation of the Chara Chara weir, in conjunction with diversions to the power stations, has resulted in some negative environmental and social impacts.”

The full report can be accessed here:

http://waterandfood.org/fileadmin/CPWF_Documents/Project_Documents/36/HYP-published_on_line.pdf