Construction of GERD’s saddle dam completed

Mohammed El-Said
2 Min Read

Addis Ababa announced on Wednesday the completion of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’s (GERD) saddle dam in an elevation of not more than 600 metres.

Expecting to have a pivotal contribution to generating the planned 15,760 GWh from GERD, the saddle dam is 5.2 km long and has an average height of 50 metres, and is considered a milestone in the entire GERD project.

The dam’s Civil Construction Inspection Head Engineer Girma Mengistu said in an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency that “the upstream face of the saddle dam is now fully completed with over 14-million-meter cube concrete embankment.”

Mengistu added that the completed upstream face of the saddle dam, particularly the face slab, covers an area of more than 330,000 sqm, noting that the completion of this part will have significant importance in accelerating the construction of the GERD by shifting the workers from the saddle dam to the main project. 

Foundation treatment had earlier been accomplished to prevent any possible underground water leakage where more than 30,000 plastic diaphragms have also been laid underground as a precaution, according to Mengistu.

This announcement comes amid a new course of negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia tackling the main issue of filling the dam and the time period of the GERD’s operation period. Ethiopia insists on storage within a period of three years while Egypt is requesting a 7-year filing period.

Recently, the United States hosted negotiations between the two countries and Sudan, with the presence of the World Bank. The negotiations led to an agreement to announce a two-months negotiation time about the filling period with the participation of the World Bank.

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Mohammed El-Said is the Science Editor for the Daily News Egypt with over 8 years of experience as a journalist. His work appeared in the Science Magazine, Nature Middle East, Scientific American Arabic Edition, SciDev and other regional and international media outlets. El-Said graduated with a bachelor's degree and MSc in Human Geography, and he is a PhD candidate in Human Geography at Cairo University. He also had a diploma in media translation from the American University in Cairo.