Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Destruction of the Blue Niles Falls

Dear Friends,

I am sad to report that the Blue Niles Falls is no more... The Ethiopian Ministry of Water Resources has used up $63 million to build a 450 megawatt power generating station called Tis Abay II, diverting the flow of the Nile's source.

What happened to conservation and alternative energy?

Chinese and Serbian contractors built the dam, while France and Britain served as consultants on this project.

READ Richard Bangs' article on MSNBC. Bangs and Pasquale Scaturro are authors of Mystery of the Nile: The Epic Story of the First Descent of the World's Deadliest River. Their journey is captured in an IMAX film, Mystery of the Nile.

"This seemed a crime against nature, against aesthetic sensibilities, even local economies..." Purchase the book.

Photo Courtesy: MSNBC.com

Here's a report from 2002 about the Tekeze dam, another dam project in Ethiopia.

Some facts about rivers and dams.

Some background on the messy Nile Basin Initiative. It's "business as usual..."

You are Africa's black soil that produce life
You are the milk that quench the thirsty multitudes
You are the messenger of my gospel, O Nile
That bring my abundant harvest to the mouth of the needy
You are the elegant pilgrim of my mercy
Your are the first fountain you are the first ever Ethiopia
You are the appeaser of the lustful greed
You are the first Earth Mother of all fertility
Rising like the sun from the deepest core of the globe
You are the conqueror of the scorching pestilence
You are the source you the Africa you are the Ethiopia
You are the Nile.

Tsegaye Gebre-Medhin, Ethiopian Poet Laureate

More on nationalgeographic.com about this legendary river that inspires both reverence and fear among Ethiopians who live along its banks.

The image “http://aes.iupui.edu/rwise/banknotes/ethiopia/ethiopiap46-1Birr-1997-donated_b.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Ethiopia's paper currency, the one birr note, showcases the falls in spate

The Aral Sea level has dropped about 20m since 1960, primarily as a result of increased diversions from the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers for irrigation purposes.

Lake Chad,
once one of the African continent's largest bodies of fresh water, has dramatically decreased in size due to climate change and human demand for water.


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