Egyptian Proposal Can Cost Ethiopia up to $5 Billion Annually - Ethiopian Minister

By Staff Reporter  

GERD-EthiopiaOctober 18, 2019 ( -- Egyptian Proposal Can Cost Ethiopia up to $5 Billion Annually, says Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Sileshi Bekele. According to his statement, Ethiopia would incur as much money as the cost of the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) every year if it accepts Egypt’s new proposal on the filling and releasing of water into/ from the controversial dam.

Egypt’s recent proposal among other issues requires Ethiopia to release 40 billion cubic meters of water to downstream countries every year and to keep the water volume in the Aswan dam of Egypt to 165 meters above sea level.

The filling process will vary based on the climatic condition in Ethiopia and, according to the minister, the filling process of the GERD’s reservoir will take six years if there is high flood in the highlands of Ethiopia, eight years during the normal rainfall and flooding, 13 and 16 years during dry and extreme dry climatic conditions, respectively, in the highlands of the country.

“Ethiopia will lose $1.35 billion every year if it is going to release 40 billion cubic meters of water to downstream countries every year in case of high flooding, which he said rarely happens. “We will lose at least $2 billion a year during normal climatic conditions and flooding, $4 billion in dry conditions and $5 billion during extreme dry climatic conditions in highlands areas of Ethiopia.

The proposal also calls for the involvement of a third party along with the leaders of the three countries to resolve differences in the use of Abay River (Blue Nile), which Ethiopia has refused.     

Explaining the dam’s progress and the outcome of the recent negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Dr. Sileshi Bekele said the proposal violates the country’s sovereignty and the right to use the Nile water.

Ethiopia can’t accept Egypt’s proposal as it cannot release the requested 40 billion cubic meters of water during normal flooding and dry and extreme dry climatic conditions, Sileshi said   

The minister recalled the grave mistakes done by former Ethiopian former authorities to give the contractual works of the dam’s steel structures and turbine to the Metals, Engineering and Technology Corporation (METEC), which, according to the minister, performed poorly and produced inferior quality.

“It was unfair and wrong to give such works to METEC which lacked the required skills, expertise and international experience to undertake such high tech projects, Sileshi said, adding that all the turbines are being rebuilt based international standards.

According to the minister, Ethiopia would save up to 100 million dollars by downsizing the number of the turbines from 16 to 13.

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