February 25, 2014
Ethiopia’s Water and Irrigation Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu has said that his country was collaborating with Sudan to re-engage Egypt in dialogue over the use of the shared waters of the River Nile.Tegenu told journalists in Addis Ababa on Tuesday that it was seeking regional support for the ongoing $4.7 billion Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project currently at about 34 percent.
He said talks with Ethiopia’s Nile neighbours over a report by the International Panel of Experts on the Impacts of GERD on downstream countries had proceeded well until Egypt allegedly withdrew.
He said the dam would eventually benefit the three Nile riparian countries and would not cause any harm on downstream countries as the experts’ report had suggested.
The Ethiopian dam reputed to be one of the largest hydro project in the world on the River Nile near the Sudan border, will water 1,680 square kilometers of forest in northwest Ethiopia (an area about four times the size of Cairo) and displace some 20,000 people.
The project would also create a reservoir that will hold around 70 billion cubic meters of water equivalent to the entire annual flow of the Blue Nile along the Sudan border with a projected electricity capacity of 6,000MW, when completed.
The project has however, caused some ripples between Ethiopia and Egypt, with ousted Egyptian leader Muhammed Morsi threatening war on Addis Ababa to protect his country’s interest in the Nile.
Morsi had claimed that Egypt sources over 80 percent of its domestic water supply from the Nile River.
The threat of force from Egypt had slowed down the project which was scheduled to be completed by 2017.
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Source : starafrica.com