Ethiopia says First Year of GERD Filling Achieved

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s prime minister office said on Tuesday the first-round target of filling the mega-dam on river Abay, the main tributary of the River Nile, has been reached.

The office said the current rainfall and runoff situation in the region have made ti conducive to fill the dam.

“It has become evident over the past two weeks in the rainy season that the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) first year filling is achieved,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office said in a statement.

“The dam under construction is already overtopping,” it said.

Last week, Ethiopia acknowledged that water was gathering in the reservoir behind the nearly completed $4.6bn Dam, though officials said this was a “natural” part of the construction process.

The announcement came on a day that African leaders held a virtual meeting on Tuesday to try to resolve the dispute.

The PM office said the extraordinary meeting undertaken at the heads of state government level concluded with all parties reaching a major common understanding which paves the way for a breakthrough agreement.

Accordingly, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed for further technical discussion on the filling to continue in the AU led process and proceeding to a comprehensive agreement.

Tuesday’s discussions have been mediated by current African Union chair and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The talks among the country’s leaders showed the critical importance placed on finding a way to resolve tensions over the storied Nile River.