Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Gilgel Gibe-2 Hydropower Project, Ethiopia

Tesfaye Hailu Estifanos


Nowadays, political and public consciousness with regard to environmental issues combined by awareness of issues associated with climatically changes and interest in promoting sustainable development has led to growing of the international debate on the benefits derived from major water resources projects. Hence, all hydropower projects are subjected to environmental impact assessment. The Gilgel Gibe II project area is located on the South Western Ethiopian plateau. The cascade is located in the Jimma Zone Administration between the Gilgel Gibe and Omo rivers, some 250 km South-West of Addis Ababa and about 80 km North-East of Jima. The Gilgel Gibe is a tributary of the Great Gibe River, also known as Omo River downstream of the bridge of the highway Addis Ababa – Jimma. Most of the project component sites are in Yem Special Woreda of the Southern region. The powerhouse, access road, project camps and construction of other facilities are located in this Woreda. The general objective of the study is to identify the potential positive and negative environmental impacts of the proposed Gilgel gibe II hydropower project on the environment and propose possible measures for further mitigating the negative impacts. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Gilgel Gibe II project was done based on the EIA requirement for hydropower projects as referred from different EIA guidelines and materials. Moreover, past studies such as the Gilgel gibe II dam design, EIA, watershed management, Hydraulics and hydropower, and soil and land suitability study reports have thoroughly reviewed to get basic information on the biophysical and socio- economic conditions of the study areas. The main materials used to identify possible potential environmental impacts of the dam-reservoir and hydropower project is the ICID guidelines and checklists. Mitigation measures are required based on priorities to avoid or minimized the adverse impacts that will be resulted due to the project implementation. To this end, possible management or mitigation measures have proposed against identified negative impacts of the project. Although they can be managed through proper mitigation measures, the project may also result some significant adverse impacts on the environment. Therefore, proper mitigation measures need to be considered at each stages of the project implementation including construction to operation, if not it will result distressing challenges both to the environment and sustainability of the project.

Keywords: Environmental Impact Assessment, Gilgel gibe-2, Hydropower project

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/71-02

Publication date: April 30th 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-574X ISSN (Online)2224-8951

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