Protect the Blue Nile (Abay River) from further damming in the Grand Canyon of Africa

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The Abay River (Blue Nile) is one of the greatest rivers in the world and deserves to be protected in its remaining canyon as a natural treasure of Ethiopia. With the completion and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Rennaissance Dam (GERD) starting in 2019, ~270 km of the lower river canyon will be flooded, forever changing its ecosystem.  At least three additional mega-dam projects have been proposed upstream (Mekala, Beko Abo, and Karadobi Dams), but these additional projects will not only destroy the remaining ~600 km of beautiful Abay, they will also exact another hefty price tag from the people of Ethiopia and precipitate additional conflict with Egypt.  We urge you to enact legislation to permanently protect the remaining Abay River in the Grand Canyon of the Nile and prohibit any further dams along its course.

See Blue Nile slideshows:  Northern Gorge, Gorgeous Gorge, Black Gorge, Western Cataracts

More info: Blue Nile Info and Expeditions

Video: The Dams of the Blue Nile 


Dear honorable Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and cabinet members:

The Abay gathers voluminous waters from the monsoon rains on the high Abyssinian plateau and provides ~70% of the water to the main Lower Nile in Sudan and Egypt  As it flows through Ethiopia, it passes through the deepest canyon in Africa, measuring ~2000 m deep on both sides much of the way, and up to >3000 m in places. In this "Grand Canyon of the Nile" it has remained a mostly undeveloped clean natural river with abundant wildlife, beautiful scenery, interesting side hikes, challenging rapids, and culturally unique people to meet (both Amharic and Gumuz) - and as such offers a natural corridor that should be protected for future generations to visit.

The river already has the Grand Ethiopian Rennaissance Dam (GERD) nearing completion at the lower end of the canyon, a source of pride for most Ethiopians. However, this 6000 MW behemoth project came with a high cost of >$5 billion USD, and due to being funded largely by the salaries of Ethiopians, it has led to increased poverty among many in the country. Furthermore, the project will lead to overall decreased flows in the river (from filling the GERD reservoir and increasing evaporation from reservoir's large surface area) which has precipitated an international conflict with Egypt. The energy that will be generated by this project is indeed needed, but the energy should go to Ethiopians rather than being exported. Although there are tentative plans to build 4 additional mega-dams on the Abay, if these other dams are built, much more of the river and its habitat will be destroyed and Ethiopians will lose more of their majestic Abay.

We petition you: please make the GERD the only mega-dam on the Abay. If additional energy is needed by Ethiopians, other lower-cost sources of energy should be developed in the region, such as solar and wind. We urge you to enact legislation to permanently protect the remaining Abay river in the "Grand Canyon of the Nile" as a free-flowing river in its natural state and prohibit further riparian development in its majestic canyon. The ~670 km of remaining Abay River from Lake Tana to the Didessa confluence should be designated a national park.  Visitation of the river and canyon will only grow in the future with the burgeoning increase in worldwide adventure tourism, and the river and its canyon will remain the greatest source of pride for Ethiopia. 


SierraRios and everyone signing this petition