Second Filling of GERD will Proceed as scheduled in July – minister

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia confirms it will execute the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as per schedule amid call for delay from Sudan and Egypt.

Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Seleshi Bekele said the filling of the dam’s reservoir will by no means be postponed while speaking at a symposium organised to mark the 10 year anniversary of start of GERD construction project on Wednesday.

“The construction stage, by its nature, demands the second filling of the dam by the coming rainy season,” Seleshi said, “There is now way we will postpone the filling. It is technically impossible”.

Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen also told the Symposium that utilising Abay River and completing the dam is a matter of protecting country’s sovereignty.

Ethiopia contributes more than 86 per cent or  77bln cubic meters  of the water to River Nile but has not utilised the resources.

Its officials believe the hydropower dam being built on the River will change that course. The construction of the 4.6bln US dollars dam is currently 79 per cent completed.

“No power will deny our right to properly utilise the river’s water,” the deputy Prime Minister said.

Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam after the summer rains last year despite demands from Egypt and Sudan that it should first reach a binding agreement on the dam’s operation.

The second filling of the dam will begin in July, 2021, as per the construction schedule of the GERD.