Egyptian Proposal on Renaissance Dam Is Dangerous - Ethiopian Experts

By Staff Reporter

GERD-Meeting-CairoSeptember 30, 2019 ( -- Ethiopian hydro power experts said Egypt’s recent proposal regarding the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is very dangerous and has set different traps to put Ethiopia on the losing side, Ethiopia’s National Water Expert’s team has said.

Egypt’s new proposal requires Ethiopia to fill the dam phase by phase. Accordingly, Ethiopia would fill part of the dam for two years and cannot go to the second phase until its impact on the downstream countries is assessed.

Ethiopia’s National Water Expert’s team leader Feqe Ahmed told local media on Monday that, this is the first trap set by the Egyptian authorities to halt the filling process of the dam. “The proposal does not specify when and how the next phase will proceed, Fiqe said.

Egypt’s new proposal demands that Ethiopia release 40 billion cubic meters of the Nile water annually to downstream countries. Egypt’s proposal also stated that the natural flow of the Nile water should not be affected in any way.

According to Feqe, this is another dangerous point and, if accepted, it will leave the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam hold no water.

The water experts team leader said the volume of water that goes from Ethiopia to downstream countries varies between 29 billion to 79 billion cubic meters annually.

The proposal required Ethiopia to release 40 billion cubic meters of water to downstream countries annually. When the volume of Nile water becomes 30 billion cubic meters, where will Ethiopia fetch from the remaining 10 billion cubic meters of the water? the expert questioned.

According to the proposal, Ethiopia needs to release additional water when the volume of water in Aswan dam of Egypt goes down below 165 meters above sea level.

In a briefing two weeks ago, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Sileshi Bekele said Ethiopia cannot be sure on the volume of water it would release to downstream countries due to different reasons, including growing demand of water for development purposes in the country.

According to Feqe, Egypt can keep the volume of water in Aswan dam below 165 meters above sea level by releasing the water it receives from Ethiopia to fill its old Aswan dam and several lakes and by doing so it will make Ethiopia’s renaissance dam not a hydro power dam but a monument.

Egypt’s proposal which was forwarded during the recent tripartite talks between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt in Cairo also requests Ethiopia to fill the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) more gradually, but not in under seven years.

Currently the three countries are holding their fifth meeting of the National Independent Scientific Research Group (NISRG) in Khartoum, Sudan.

The ongoing meeting is expected to deliberate on agenda items agreed during the meeting of the water ministers of the three countries held in Cairo on September 15-16, 2019.

The NISRG is expected to report the outcomes of its deliberations to water affairs ministers meeting of the three countries to be held from October 4-5, 2019 in Khartoum, Sudan.

According to Feqe, Ethiopia could fill the dam in two years’ time and generate one billion dollar a year. It could, however, extend the filling time between 4-6 years for sake of establishing good neighborly relations with the countries in the region.

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