The multiple impacts of a major hydrodam development project on
Ethiopia’s Omo River are examined through a resource use and natural system analysis focused on the half million indigenous people whose lives would be radically changed by the dam’s downstream environmental consequences.
The author warns of an impending human rights and ecological catastrophe that is being minimized by the governments of the
three nation states that border the Omo and Lake Turkana basins. The very real threat of mass starvation and armed conflict in the border region of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan is attributed to government and development agency inaction and indifference to the impacts of the dam project.
Despite ample data to the contrary, development banks, industrial
firms and governmental agencies have produced reports and plans that minimize the impacts and exaggerate the benefits. This interdisciplinary report serves as a critique of this process as it examines well funded and ostensibly authoritative studies that use limnological data, biological data, hydrology, and geology to make a case for the dam, while the author expands on the analysis using field data, socioeconomic studies and ecological as well as geological studies to call the wisdom of the project into question.
The author has several decades of experience in the area,
has published a monograph and articles on the Lower Omo Basin, and is currently engaged in cooperative research within the broader transborder region.