Ethiopia to Propose its Own Plan on How to Fill Nile Dam

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia says it will submit a counter-proposal to Egypt on how to fill the reservoir of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is being built on the Blue Nile near its border with Sudan.

Earlier this week, Addis Ababa rejected Cairo’s proposal on how to operate the Dam, calling Cairo’s plan “inappropriate”.

Speaking to reporters in Addis Abeba, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Sileshi Bekele said his country will put forward another proposal.

The counter-proposal will focus on how many years Ethiopia needs to fill in the dam and the amount of water to be released from GERD annually.

During a meeting held last year, Sileshi said Egypt has proposed a plan which suggests the filling of the dam’s reservoir to be conducted within seven years.

It also requires a minimum of a guaranteed 40 billion meter cubic of water to be released every year and demands to maintain High Aswan Dam at 165 meters above sea level.

Ethiopia rejected them on the bases that “such stringent condition of annual flow release is not acceptable to Ethiopia as it prolongs the filling of the GERD.”

“We can’t accept this because it only keeps the advantage of Egypt,” said Sileshi. The minister did not say how much water Ethiopia wants to release.

Addis Abeba and Cairo are now at odds over Ethiopia’s rejection of the Egypt proposal. Sudan also has a similar stand with Ethiopia.

Committee drawn from the three countries will resume their discussion at the end of September.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), announced in 2011, is designed to be the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter, generating more than 6,000 megawatts.

By Mhret G/Kristos

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