Sudan has complained that the levels of the Nile have dropped. This is as a reservoir behind Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance dam has filled up. Sudan has criticized “any unilateral actions taken by any party”. According to Africa News, Egypt too, has demanded “quick official clarification” from Ethiopia.
Egypt and Sudan are both downstream, and have thus expressed concerns that Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will reduce their access to water significantly. Ethiopia meanwhile, is adamant that the hydroelectric project is crucial to its economic growth and to improving it’s electricity supply. The dam is expected to provide power to some 65 million Ethiopians, who currently do not experience regular electricity supply.
Ethiopia’s Water Minister, Seleshi Bekele, in reference to satellite images showing the GERD’s water levels rising, said that that was in line with the dam’s construction process. He said, “The construction of the dam and the filling of the water go hand in hand.” It is currently rainy season in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia had some time back announced it would fill the dam in July, with Egypt and Sudan having tried to dissuade it. After years of negotiations, the three countries had failed to reach an agreement on how and when the dam would be filled, and how much water it should release. The project was begun in 2011.
Africa News reports that Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had previously warned that filling and operating the dam without an agreement “that protects the downstream communities… would heighten tensions and could provoke crises and conflicts that further destabilize an already troubled region”.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is expected to become the largest hydro-electric plant in Africa.
Umm Muhammed Umar