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1.6 bln birr irrigation dam to start operation
Gidabo Dam

1.6 bln birr irrigation dam to start operation

Cost inflated by 600 percent 

Delayed for six years, Gidabo Dam and Irrigation Project took eight years to be finalized with a total cost of 1.66 billion birr, inflated by 645 percent from its original cost, is about to be operational by the end of this month, The Reporter has learnt.

The dam project launched in March, 2010 with a total projected cost of 258 million birr was delayed for numerous issues including major changes to its design. The amalgamated state owned enterprise: the Ethiopian Construction Works Corporation (ECWC) tasked to undertake construction and design of government projects took over the works some three years ago. Gidabo is probably the first dam that has the potential to catch 63.5 million cubic meters of water covering an irrigation area of some 13,500 hectares of farmland. Now, the dam is said to have come closer to operation. 

According to the information ECWC released, the delays and inflated costs has got to do with several changes in the designs of the project along with compensation claims. Adding to that, the actual construction work had commenced after a two year delay from the initial contractual agreement was made.

Stretching between the borders of Oromia and Southern Regional States located near Dilla Town some 365 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, Gidabo Dam and Irrigation Project, which began in 2010, had an original design capacity of 16 meter height and later was redesigned to be raised to 22.5 meters stretching 315 meters to cover 7.16 kilometer.

In fact, delays and skyrocketing project costs are not reserved to this project alone. There are the likes of Kessem Dam and Irrigation Development Project which was launched in 2005 with an initial budget of some 2.6 billion birr but still remains far from being completed. Tendaho Dam and Irrigation Development, Ribb Dam, and Megech Dam Construction are some of the major ongoing projects ECWC has assigned to oversee their outcomes.

The Corporation was formed three years ago with a total authorized capital of 20.3 billion birr and a 7.7 billion birr paid up capital. The Corporation amalgamated the Ethiopian Road Construction Corporation, the Ethiopian Water Works Construction Enterprise and the Ethiopian Prefabricated Building Parts Production Enterprise to form a giant state-owned enterprise to involve in the design, supervision and construction of airports, highways and dams. Currently, ECWC was able to secure its first oversees project in Rwanda to develop an irrigation infrastructure.