Old Koka Dam still producing electricity 50 years on
Last updated: 16.06.2010 //
Since 1960, the Koka Dam in Oromia Region has been powering Ethiopia. The 458 metre long dam was an important part of the country’s development during the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, and also then, Norwegian expertise was utilized to make the most of hydropower in Ethiopia.
The main contractors were Italian, but Norwegian company Norconsult was engaged in the process of constructing the dam. The firm had been established by civil engineer Aanund Berdal in 1929, and was engaged giving advice and taking part in the planning of a number of hydropower projects in Norway during the 1930s. Norconsult was also engaged in projects on Iceland and in Australia, before it started working on the Koka Dam Project in 1957. Drawing a line to today’s Norwegian engagement in Ethiopia’s hydropower, one can see that “feasibility studies” were conducted by the company also then, in producing the 1957 report: “The Koka Project, Hydroelectric Development in the Awash River, Conditions and specifications “ (http://books.google.no/books?id=nfGPXqfQ91cC&pg=PA350&lpg=PA350&dq=Norconsult,Koka&source=bl&ots=T_eXufBxtR&sig=SD-Q-QfAXDDKB17-yt2lD9zbmTI&hl=no&ei=XlMXTJKVIp6UOJezwYEL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Norconsult%2CKoka&f=false)
Gazing out from a tower, the Emperor could look out on the dam, symbolizing the development of his country
Nearby the dam, Melkassa Castle can be found, which was one of the Emperors many resorts around Ethiopia. Gazing out from a tower, the Emperor could look out on the dam, symbolizing the development of his country. The construction of the dam cost 30 million Ethiopian Dollars, the currency of the time.