08 March 2014

Map of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: location and expected extent of the reservoir

Below is  DRAFT version of a map I am working on to show where the Renaissance Dam is located and the extent of the expected reservoir. My professional cartographic friend is not happy with my choice of color, as brown is not the color for water, but in the case of the Blue Nile, it is actually more accurate. That is humor. Next month, he will help me change this so it will serve as a better communications tool. For now, the project is marked in brown. 

The important thing to note about the Renaissance dam and current coverage in media and by experts, as the anonymous contributor of the reservoir boundaries pointed out to me, the location of the dam is misreported: 

  1. The dam is less than 20 km from the current border with Sudan. I can confirm this as my hosts drove me to see the Sudan border when I visited the dam in September 2012. There is a sizable Ethiopian military presence stationed there. I also have GPS derived data points of the villages I visited. I intend to make a map of that for my dissertation next month.
  2. The second important point is that there is a saddle dam. This second dam is a significant structure being constructed within the Renaissance Dam project is only about 5km from the border with Sudan. The saddle dam is a retaining structure and will not be used to generate electricity. However, the structure allows for higher storage capacity in the resulting reservoir. In the words of one expert, the saddle dam enables the potential water storage and related hydraulic head to exceed the initial surveyed hydropower potential estimates from 700 WM to the current expected 6,000 MW design.