Ethiopia’s huge Nile dam explained | Energy News

Ethiopia’s huge Nile dam explained | Energy News


Ethiopia built a huge hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile and began to stop the flow of water from filling up the reservoir behind it the following year.

Egypt is worried that the dam will affect the overall flow of the Nile River, and submits this issue to the UN Security Council together with the downstream country Sudan, with a view to reaching a binding agreement on the operation of the dam.

The following is information about the diplomatic deadlock:

What is the project about?

Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) Is the source The diplomatic stalemate between Ethiopia and the downstream countries Egypt and Sudan for nearly a decade.

The $4 billion GERD was announced in early 2011 when Egypt was in political turmoil.

It is the core of Ethiopia’s fight to become Africa’s largest electricity exporter, with an estimated capacity of more than 6,000 MW.

Despite construction delays, Ethiopia will start filling the reservoir behind the dam in 2020.

The initial two-year filling phase is expected to bring the water level in the reservoir to 595 meters in the final 632 meters.

Once completed, it will become the largest hydroelectric power station in Africa and the seventh largest dam in the world. According to reports In the official media of Ethiopia.

Nile water

The river system of the Nile Basin flows through 11 countries. The Blue Nile and White Nile converge in Sudan and then flow into Egypt and the Mediterranean.

Egypt determined its share in the waters of this river based on a 1959 transaction that provided it with 55.5 billion cubic meters of water each year, compared to 18.5 billion cubic meters for Sudan.

At that time, other countries did not receive funding, and Ethiopia did not recognize the agreement.

This Dispute Center Regarding how quickly Ethiopia should fill and replenish its reservoirs, and how much water it will release downstream under conditions of years of drought.

What did Egypt say?

The population of Egypt is growing rapidly, exceeding 100 million, and at least 90% of its fresh water depends on the Nile River.

This desert-dominated country is already short of water. It imports about half of its food every year and recycles about 25 billion cubic meters of water.

Egypt is most worried about the risk of drought conditions, such as the drought conditions that occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and has pushed Ethiopia to fill reservoirs for longer periods of time when needed and to ensure a minimum flow.

If water flows are restricted under drought conditions, Egypt says it may lose more than 1 million jobs and US$1.8 billion in economic production each year, although it acknowledges that this is unlikely to happen.

In general, Egypt sees dams as Existential threat Water supply to it.

What did Ethiopia say?

Ethiopia, with a population of more than 110 million, accused Egypt of trying to maintain colonial control over the waters of the Nile by imposing rules on the filling and operation of dams.

It stated that it is considering the interests of Egypt and Sudan, and that it is unrealistic for Egypt to demand guarantees of movement.

It also stated that it could complete the filling of the reservoir in two to three years, but made concessions by proposing a four to seven year process.

Ethiopia Also talk about strength Hydropower projects produced by huge hydropower projects are indispensable to its development.

What is the position of Sudan?

Sudan does not face a shortage of water supply on the Nile River, and it can benefit from dam power generation and flood mitigation.

However, Sudan is worried about the safety of the dam, which is located on the other side of the border with Ethiopia.

Khartoum called for information sharing to minimize the impact on its own dams and water stations, and to take preventive measures for its own dams before the second GERD impoundment, citing the lack of data from Ethiopia.


The two sides accused each other of delaying negotiations many times. The talks hosted by Washington broke down last year, and efforts to restart the talks in Kinshasa earlier this year also failed.

Although the African Union has facilitated the recent efforts, Sudan and Egypt call on the United States, the European Union and the United Nations to directly mediate.

Ethiopia has Revolt In this regard, it is said that diplomacy outside of the African Union process has “belittled” the efforts of African institutions.

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