Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

Dams Related Abstracts

3 Gilgel Gibe III: Dam-Induced Displacement in Ethiopia and Kenya

Authors: Jonny Beirne


Hydropower developments have come to assume an important role within the Ethiopian government's overall development strategy for the country during the last ten years. The Gilgel Gibe III on the Omo river, due to become operational in September 2014, represents the most ambitious, and controversial, of these projects to date. Further aspects of the government's national development strategy include leasing vast areas of designated 'unused' land for large-scale commercial agricultural projects and 'voluntarily' villagizing scattered, semi-nomadic agro-pastoralist groups to centralized settlements so as to use land and water more efficiently and to better provide essential social services such as education and healthcare. The Lower Omo valley, along the Omo River, is one of the sites of this villagization programme as well as of these large-scale commercial agricultural projects which are made possible owing to the regulation of the river's flow by Gibe III. Though the Ethiopian government cite many positive aspects of these agricultural and hydropower developments there are still expected to be serious regional and transnational effects, including on migration flows, in an area already characterized by increasing climatic vulnerability with attendant population movements and conflicts over scarce resources. The following paper is an attempt to track actual and anticipated migration flows resulting from the construction of Gibe III in the immediate vicinity of the dam, downstream in the Lower Omo Valley and across the border in Kenya around Lake Turkana. In the case of those displaced in the Lower Omo Valley, this will be considered in view of the distinction between voluntary villagization and forced resettlement. The research presented is not primary-source material. Instead, it is drawn from the reports and assessments of the Ethiopian government, rights-based groups, and academic researchers as well as media articles. It is hoped that this will serve to draw greater attention to the issue and encourage further methodological research on the dynamics of dam constructions (and associated large-scale irrigation schemes) on migration flows and on the ultimate experience of displacement and resettlement for environmental migrants in the region.

Keywords: Migration, Development, human security, Human Rights, Dams, livelihoods, pastoralism, forced displacement, voluntary resettlement, land grabs, commercial agriculture, ecosystem modification, natural resource conflict

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2 Detection of Pollution in the Catchment Area of Baha Region by Using Some Common Plants as a Bioindicators

Authors: Saad M. Howladar


Although, there are a little data on the use of littoral plants as heavy metals bioaccumulators over large areas of the wetlands environment. So, soil samples and biomass of the five plant species: Pluchea dioscroides, Pulicaria crispa, Lavandula pubescens, Tarchononthus comporatus and Argemone ochroleuca were collected from two different sites (basin and mouth) of four dams at Baha province, KSA. Nutrients and heavy metals were extracted from plant samples (leaves and stems) for analyzing elements (Na, K, Ca, P and N) and heavy metals (Pb, Cu and Ni). The soils of the mouth of the dam had the highest concentrations of all elements, while that of basin had the highest ones of most heavy metals except Pb. The soil elements in relation to the two sites arranged as: Ca > K > P > Na > N; and the heavy metals as: Cu > Ni > Pb. The present study indicated that Pluchea dioscroides had the highest values of most elements and heavy metals, while Lavandula pubescens had the lowest. In general, leaves attain the highest concentrations of all nutrients and heavy metals in most studied species as compared with stem. It was indicated that Pluchea dioscroides showed a high transfer factor for almost elements and heavy metals such as K, Na, Cu, Ni and Pb, while Pulicaria crispa showed the highest translocation factor of N, P, Ca-Na ratio and Cu. All studied species growing in the basin had almost the highest concentrations of elements and heavy metals as compared with that in the mouth of dam except K in Pluchea dioscroides, Tarchononthus comporatus and Argemone ochroleuca tissues. Otherwise tissues of Tarchononthus comporatus growing in the basin had the lowest concentrations of K and Ni, while that growing in the mouth had the highest of P and N.

Keywords: Pollution, Heavy Metals, Plant, Dams, Bioindicators, Baha Region

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1 Conservation Challenges of Fish and Fisheries in Lake Tana, Ethiopia

Authors: Shewit Kidane, Abebe Getahun, Wassie Anteneh, Admassu Demeke, Peter Goethals


We have reviewed major findings of scientific studies on Lake Tana fish resources and their threats. The aim was to provide summarized information for all concerned bodies and international readers to get full and comprehensive picture about the lake’s fish resource and conservation problems. The Lake Tana watershed comprise 28 fish species, of which 21 are endemic. Moreover, Lake Tana is the one among the top 250 lake regions of global importance for biodiversity and it is world recognized migratory birds wintering site. Lake Tana together with its adjacent wetlands provide directly and indirectly a livelihood for more than 500,000 people. However, owing to anthropogenic activities, the lake ecosystem as well as fish and attributes of the fisheries sector are severely degraded. Fish species in Lake Tana are suffering due to illegal fishing, damming, habitat/breeding ground degradation, wastewater disposal, introduction of exotic species, and lack of implementing fisheries regulations. Currently, more than 98% of fishers in Lake Tana are using the most destructive monofilament. Indeed, dams, irrigation schemes and hydropower are constructed in response to the emerging development need only. Mitigation techniques such as construction of fish ladders for the migratory fishes are the most forgotten. In addition, water resource developers are likely unaware of both the importance of the fisheries and the impact of dam construction on fish. As a result, the biodiversity issue is often missed. Besides, Lake Tana wetlands, which play vital role to sustain biodiversity, are not wisely utilised in the sense of the Ramsar Convention’s definition. Wetlands are considered as unhealthy and hence wetland conversion for the purpose of recession agriculture is still seen as advanced mode of development. As a result, many wetlands in the lake watershed are shrinking drastically over time and Cyprus papyrus, one of the characteristic features of Lake Tana, has dramatically declined in its distribution with some local extinction. Furthermore, the recently introduced water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is creating immense problems on the lake ecosystem. Moreover, currently, 1.56 million tons of sediment have deposited into the lake each year and wastes from the industries and residents are directly discharged into the lake without treatment. Recently, sign of eutrophication is revealed in Lake Tana and most coarsely, the incidence of cyanobacteria genus Microcystis was reported from the Bahir Dar Gulf of Lake Tana. Thus, the direct dependency of the communities on the lake water for drinking as well as to wash their body and clothes and its fisheries make the problem worst. Indeed, since it is home to many endemic migratory fish, such kind of unregulated developmental activities could be detrimental to their stocks. This can be best illustrated by the drastic stock reduction (>75% in biomass) of the world unique Labeobarbus species. So, unless proper management is put in place, the anthropogenic impacts can jeopardize the aquatic ecosystems. Therefore, in order to sustainably use the aquatic resources and fulfil the needs of the local people, every developmental activity and resource utilization should be carried out adhering to the available policies.

Keywords: Dams, Anthropogenic Impacts, endemic fish, wetland degradation

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