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Water resource developments in Ethiopia: potential benefits and negative impacts on the environment, vector-borne diseases, and food security


Yewhalaw, D; Hamels, S; Getachew, Y; Torgerson, P R; Anagnostou, M; Legesse, W; Kloos, H; Duchateau, L; Speybroeck, N (2014). Water resource developments in Ethiopia: potential benefits and negative impacts on the environment, vector-borne diseases, and food security. Environmental Reviews, 22(4):364-371.

Abstract

To satisfy the growing demand for electricity, Ethiopia plans to increase its electricity production five-fold between 2010 and 2015, mainly through the construction of dams. A literature review shows that while dams can boost power and agricultural production, promote economic development, and facilitate flood control, they can also lead to environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic changes. Several case studies show that dams may alter the composition and density of vectors and intermediate host species, increase the incidence of malaria schistosomiasis and possibly lymphatic filariasis, and lead to eutrophication of reservoirs, soil erosion, and earthquakes. There is evidence that dams and commercial irrigation schemes can increase soil and water degradation, vulnerability to drought, and food insecurity in riverine and lacustrine areas downstream of dams. It appears that dams in Ethiopia are also vulnerable to high soil erosion rates and earthquakes. Consequently, the current and proposed large-scale dam construction program in Ethiopia requires in-depth research to improve our understanding of the unintended negative effects of projects and to guide the location, design, and implementation of appropriate preventive and remedial programs.

Abstract

To satisfy the growing demand for electricity, Ethiopia plans to increase its electricity production five-fold between 2010 and 2015, mainly through the construction of dams. A literature review shows that while dams can boost power and agricultural production, promote economic development, and facilitate flood control, they can also lead to environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic changes. Several case studies show that dams may alter the composition and density of vectors and intermediate host species, increase the incidence of malaria schistosomiasis and possibly lymphatic filariasis, and lead to eutrophication of reservoirs, soil erosion, and earthquakes. There is evidence that dams and commercial irrigation schemes can increase soil and water degradation, vulnerability to drought, and food insecurity in riverine and lacustrine areas downstream of dams. It appears that dams in Ethiopia are also vulnerable to high soil erosion rates and earthquakes. Consequently, the current and proposed large-scale dam construction program in Ethiopia requires in-depth research to improve our understanding of the unintended negative effects of projects and to guide the location, design, and implementation of appropriate preventive and remedial programs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Chair in Veterinary Epidemiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:06 Aug 2014 15:09
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:00
Publisher:NRC Research Press
ISSN:1208-6053
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1139/er-2013-0076
Official URL:http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/er-2013-0076#.U5WetShKPfU

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