Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex

The Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex is a twin dam complex comprising Rumela Dam on the Upper Atbarah River and Burdana Dam on the Setit (Tekezé) River in eastern Sudan. The site of the twin dam is located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) upstream from the junction of the Atbarah and Setit rivers and about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of the Khashm el-Girba Dam. Construction began in 2011 was expected to be completed by March 2016.[2] The 320 MW dam was inaugurated by President Omar al-Bashir in February 2017, with final stages completed later that year.[3]

Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex
Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex is located in Sudan
Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex
Location of Upper Atbara and Setit Dam Complex in Sudan
Coordinates14°16′36″N 35°53′49″E / 14.27667°N 35.89694°E / 14.27667; 35.89694Coordinates: 14°16′36″N 35°53′49″E / 14.27667°N 35.89694°E / 14.27667; 35.89694
Construction began2011
Opening date2017
Construction costUS$ 1.9 billion
Dam and spillways
ImpoundsAtbarah River/Setit River
HeightRumela: 55 m (180 ft)
Burdana: 50 m (164 ft)
Length13 km (8.1 mi)
Spillway capacityRumela: 4,900 m3/s (170,000 cu ft/s)
Burdana: 9,400 m3/s (331,958 cu ft/s)
Total capacity2,700×10^6 m3 (2,200,000 acre⋅ft)
Normal elevation517.5 m (1,698 ft)
Power Station
TurbinesRumela: 3 x 40 MW (54,000 hp) Francis-type
Burdana: 3 x 5 MW bulb
Installed capacity135 MW (181,000 hp)[1]
Annual generation380 GWh (1,400 TJ) annually (est.)


Rumela Dam on the Atbarah is 55 metres (180 ft) tall and Burdana Dam on the Setit is 50 metres (160 ft) in height. The two dams are connected and have a total length of 13 kilometres (8.1 mi). The twin dam complex has a joined reservoir with a storage capacity of about 2.7 billion cubic metres (2,200,000 acre⋅ft) of water. The maximum filling level is 517.5 metres (1,698 ft) above sea level. The project includes the construction of hydropower stations on both Rumela and Burdana dams with a total installed capacity of 135 MW, which was designed to be capable of producing 380 gigawatt-hours (1,400 TJ) per year.

Project objectivesEdit

The project was announced in April 2010 with the aims of supporting the development of eastern Sudan by providing irrigation for local agriculture, supplying potable water, and power generation. The project also aimed to increase agriculture production in the New Halfa area of Kassala currently irrigated by the Khashm el-Girba Dam, and the development of new land consisting of 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) in Upper Atbara. Additionally, the dams are expected to provide flood-protection measures along the river banks by regulating the river flow in the project area.

Project costsEdit

The total cost of the dam complex is estimated at $1.9 billion, of which $838 million for the construction of the dams is from the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) and its overseas project-contracting subsidiary, China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE).[4]

In addition to the project implementation costs are hydroelectric and electric costs, technical and consultancy service costs, land-owning and population resettlement costs, and project implementation management and supervision costs by Sudan's Dams Implementation Unit (DIU). The consultant for the project is the French company Sogreah, which also designed and supervised the implementation of the Khashm el-Girba Dam during the 1960s. The Rumela and Burdana dam designs were revised by the German Company Lahmeyer International, the same company that allegedly revised and supervised the design of the controversial Merowe Dam.


Archaeological surveys were undertaken in the area to be flooded by the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums during the summer of 2011.[5]


  1. ^ "Upper Atbara - Dam complex" (PDF). Sogreah Consultants. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Twin Dam in Eastern Sudan: Rumela Dam on Upper Atbara and Burdana Dam on Setit". Preserve the Middle Nile. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  3. ^ Gregory B. Poindexter (2 February 2017). "Sudan inaugurates US$1.9 billion Upper Atbara and Setit Dam hydropower project". HydroWorld. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  4. ^ http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90778/90861/6944255.html
  5. ^ http://www.sudanvisiondaily.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=66957

External linksEdit

  • Preserve the Middle Nile blog: [1]