Ethiopia: Kesem-Kebena dam delayed, cost surge by 600 ml Birr

The Ministry of Water and Energy and Water Works Construction Enterprise (WWCE) said that though the construction of the Kesem – Kebena Dam and Irrigation Project wasKesem - Kebena Dam and Irrigation Project - Ethiopia, Afar region supposed to be completed in 2007, it is delayed because of geological formation and emerging of unpredicted hot springs.

Speaking at an event organized in connection with the 21st anniversary of May 28 at the Kesem – Kebena Dam and Irrigation Project, Afar State, last Monday, Minister of Water and Energy and Board Chairman of WWCE Alemayehu Tegenu said that though the enterprise, in collaboration with ministry, is aggressively working the Kesem-Kebena Dam and Irrigation Project has become a challenging in meeting the ministry’s plan.

Project Engineer Yilekal Worku also said that more than 100 hot springs unexpectedly sprung in the project site. He said :

”We are working here day and night just twenty four hours . However, realizing the project has been so challenging. A special cement, which is not found here in Ethiopia, was needed to proceed and we had to deal with a Chinese company to do the grouting. This has caused the delay in the construction activity."

Design change has been made repeatedly because of the unexpected geological formation in the area. Therefore, grouting works alone took more than a year and the budget for the whole project has reached 2.2 billion birr from the original 1.6 billion, it was learnt.

In relation to the delay of the project and factors lagging it, WWCE Project Supervision Manager Solomon Nego said:

”Actually the project should have been completed in 2007. But what we have to bear in mind is that it is too challenging since the struggle is with natural phenomenon. It is the Chinese company, CJIC , that helped us did the grouting work. In addition, there are other factors contributing to the delay.”

According to Eng. Yilekal, 60 per cent of the 0.5 billion cubic capacity dam and irrigation project has been completed so far and its full completion is scheduled for next July. The project covers 30,000 hectares of which 20,000 is for sugarcane plantation and the remaining 10,000 will be provided local pastoralists.
Minister Alemayehu assured enterprise workers that the government is ready to assist WWCE to further promote the positive developments witnessed in the previous years and also build the capacity of the management and its workers, especially in project and contract administration spheres in order to resister tangible results in the years ahead.


*Originally posted on Ethiopian Herald, on June 6, 2012, titled ’Geological formation delays Kesem-Kebena Dam, Irrigation Project’, by reporter Bewket Abebe.

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