Nile states' scientists meet over controversial dam

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)

Scientists from the states straddling the River Nile are meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to discuss the environmental impact of Ethiopia's controversial Grand Renaissance Dam.

The scientists from Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are holding their 5th meeting of the National Independent Scientific Research Group (NISRG) after Addis Ababa rejected Cairo’s proposal for the release of 40 billion cubic meters of Nile water annually to downstream countries.

Egypt’s proposal also demanded Ethiopia to fill the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian renaissance dam more gradually.

The government of Ethiopia said Egypt’s proposal is against the trans-boundary and best practices of that govern other countries which share cross-border rivers.

A month ago, the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi was quoted as saying that Ethiopia’s dam on the Nile would have never been built was it not for the impact of the 2011 uprising in his country.

Cairo had even suggested that it could go to war over the building of a dam over the river which provides the country's water needs.

In the latest proposal Egypt asked Ethiopia to release additional water when the volume in the Aswan dam drops below 165 meters above sea level.

The ongoing meeting is expected to deliberate on agenda items agreed during the meeting of the Water Affairs 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 the Water Affairs ministers to be held from 4- 5 October, 2019 in Khartoum, Sudan.

In her address to the UN General Assembly last week, President Sahle-Work said Ethiopia strongly believes that the utilization of the Nile River shall be based on the principles of equitable and reasonable utilization of its natural resources.

“Cooperation in the Nile basin is not an option but a necessity,” she added.

Ethiopia’s dam is reportedly 68.3 percent complete and will be the largest in Africa with a total installed power of 6,450 MW at its completion in 2023.


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