Realization of GERD Provides Good Opportunities for Downstream Countries: Grand Dam Negotiator

149

Addis Ababa, July 17/2021(ENA) Realization of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is good news for the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan in minimizing the negative impacts of the Nile, according to a member of the GERD negotiating team.

The construction of GERD has now reached more than 80 percent and the second filling of the dam is expected to be completed this rainy season.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Senior water expert and member of the GERD negotiating team Engineer Gedion Asfaw said as the Nile River is a shared resource, the construction and realization of GERD is a landmark for Ethiopia and good news for the downstream countries.  

“It is good news for the downstream countries because Sudan is annually suffering from floods. Last year, many people have died due to this in addition to the investment lose. So, the renaissance dam is expected to minimize such negative impact on Sudan, ” he elaborated.

The two countries clearly know the fact that there is no significant impact on the two downstream nations due to the GERD, it was indicated.

“Of course they know they are benefiting from the dam and they have done detailed studies on the impacts of the renaissance dam and the benefit they get. The two countries clearly know there is no significant impact on the two downstream countries,” he affirmed.  

The studies revealed that the GERD can benefit Sudan and Egypt by removing up to 86 percent of silt and sedimentation. It will also regulate the steady water flow throughout the year and it will avoid un-expected flooding to downstream countries.

“Nile is a shared resource that all riparian countries have the right to utilize in an equitable and reasonable manner without causing significant harm,” Gedion underscored.  

Regarding the second round filling of the dam, the expert said it is a landmark event for Ethiopia to generate power and alleviate the energy poverty which exists in the country.

The first year impoundment was 4.9 billion cubic meters while the second round filling is expected to be 13.5 billion cubic meters. The total storage probably by the end of August will be 18.4 billion cubic meters.  

This is a very significant step for Ethiopia as it will enable the country commence  the two early generation units to generate power in probably August or September, 2021 because there will be sufficient water in the dam, the water expert stated.  

He added “by that time also we can test the rest of the 11 turbines as there will be sufficient height in the dam to do testing of the rest of the turbines”.  

Citing the significance of the filling of the dam, he added “this is really a landmark event for Ethiopia because what we need from this dam is not only the filling, but also the ultimate objective is to generate power so as to help alleviate the energy poverty which exists in Ethiopia”.

More than 60 percent of Ethiopians live without electricity which also impacts basic services in the country.