Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Egypt extremely worried about start of work at Ethiopian dam in the Blue Nile

The Nile in Egypt

The Egyptian presidency on Monday published a summary of a report issued over the weekend by a tripartite commission – including Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian representatives – about the potential impact on downstream states of Ethiopia's controversial Renaissance Dam project.  The committee, which also comprised international experts, was formed in May 2012 to study the impact of the dam on Sudan and Egypt, which are downstream of Ethiopia.
 Ethiopia announced last week that it will begin diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of the project. The plans for the Renaissance Dam have been a source of concern for the Egyptian and Sudanese governments since some time, since the Blue Nile is the main source of water for both countries. The project, if completed, could negatively impact the volume of Nile water that will reach Egypt. Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current 55 billion cubic metres quota, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.
Ethiopia asserted that the project will not have an adverse impact on either Sudan or Egypt, but according to the summary of the tripartite report, most studies conducted by Ethiopia have been insufficient or out of date.
The summary said that Ethiopia had failed to conduct  studies on the dam's potential environmental and social impact on downstream countries. Also, according to the report and contrary to what Ethiopia claimed, the Renaissance Dam will affect the ability of Egypt's High Dam to generate electricity, especially during the Nile's high and medium flood seasons. It also highlights negative environmental and social impacts, including a negative impact on Ethiopia's own ecosystem and on Egyptian agriculture. The summary goes on to describe Ethiopian reports on the dam's ostensible advantages for Egypt as undependable, since they were not based on extensive studies of the dam's operational conditions or the Nile's hydrological system.

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