By Aya Nader
Feb 3, 2014
If Ethiopia wants to generate electricity, it should build a smaller dam, Minister of Irrigation Mohammad Abdul Muttalib said Monday, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The remarks came during a visit to Sharqeya governorate to inaugurate a number of water pumping stations. There, the minister stressed that Ethiopia’s planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) should “work with higher efficiency without harming other countries,” asserting that the current dam’s current efficiency levels do not exceed 30%.
Irrigation ministry spokesman Khaled Wassif said, “The minister meant they should build two small dams. This way they could generate electricity and not affect the water.”
The minister added that the Egyptian government is “employing several means to inform the world about the reality of the situation… in the Renaissance Dam crisis”, adding that “Egypt has always aimed at the development of the Nile Basin.”
The matter of the GERD has been disputed upon since its construction began in April 2011. Egypt and Sudan particularly expressed concern about the effect of the dam on their water allocation, with the former sending a delegation to Ethiopia in 2011 to inspect the site and the plans for the dam. In September 2012, Egypt denied allegations of plotting an airstrike on the dam.
According to the state-run news agency MENA, the Ethiopian prime minister has promised the state will not allow the dam to affect Egypt’s share of the water, stressing that the dam serves only to generate electricity.
The Ethiopian foreign ministry was not available to comment on the minister’s remark.