Ethiopia has begun work on a $125m dam on the River Agma in the Blue Nile Basin in the drought-prone northeastern state of Amhara.
Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water, irrigation and energy minister, laid the foundation stone on 9 January with the help of Agegnehu Teshager, Amhara’s head of state, Zawya reported.
The dam is being built by China Civil Engineering Corporation in cooperation with a number of local companies, for the Amhara Water Works Construction Enterprise (AWWCE).
AWWCE is the state agency responsible for all water-related construction and distribution in Amhara, the second largest state in the Ethiopian Federation.
When complete, in 2024, it will be 45m high and 371m long, and will store 55 million cubic metres of water, irrigating some 7,000 ha of land.
Ethiopia has suffered a number of droughts in recent years, most recently the El Niño event of 2015 and 2016 which led some 15 million people to seek humanitarian food assistance and 430,000 children to suffer severe malnutrition.
Image: The Agma dam is intended to ameliorate Ethiopia’s periodic droughts. The 2015-16 disaster led to the death of 1 million animals (Dreamstime)