Broomfield, Colo.-based MWH, the wet infrastructure design firm and provider of strategic consulting, environmental, engineering and construction services, has opened an office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The office will serve as a hub for construction and engineering professionals and an administrative staff who will support MWH’s efforts in Africa.  

Since the 1970s, MWH has helped Ethiopia with water- and energy-related challenges. In 1998 MWH was selected by the Ethiopia Electric Power Corp. as owner’s engineers for the Tekeze Hydropower Project in northern Ethiopia. The $350-million, government-funded project–and tallest arch in Africa at 188 meters high—was completed in 2009 and generates 300 MW of hydroelectric power, 40% more energy than was previously generated for the country’s 80 million residents.

Most recently, MWH was selected to provide owner’s engineering services for the Genale-Dawa Multipurpose Hydropower Project on the Genale River, with the goal of generating 254 MW of hydroelectric power and providing irrigation water for downstream agriculture. MWH also signed an agreement to collaborate on additional water and hydropower projects in Ethiopia with the Water Works Design and Supervision Enterprise, an Addis Ababa-based firm dedicated to water resource research, development and utilization. 

Ethiopia has been in search of a reliable, renewable source of power for a population that regularly faces blackouts due to shortages. Ethiopia’s government has committed to developing its hydropower capabilities by tapping into the country’s rivers; it’s estimated that the rivers could generate more than 45,000 MW of power through hydropower, with just 4,000 MW developed so far. By developing these sources, the country could meet domestic electricity needs and even produce a surplus for export, MWH says.  

Craig Harris will serve as the Ethiopia country manager for MWH. Harris has more than 30 years of international water and hydropower engineering experience. He has worked in Peru, Argentina, Nicaragua, Iceland, Pakistan, and most recently relocated to Addis Ababa from Chicago.

“MWH has long been committed to providing solutions for our clients’ needs, and this office will put us in better position to realize the growth potential we see in Ethiopia and throughout Africa,” said Joe Adams, president of energy and industry for MWH. “We look forward to delivering and expanding our service offerings to new and existing clients in Ethiopia and beyond as we continue our mission of building a better world.”