GERD Will Reduce Floods, Sedimentation in Downstream Countries: Water Research Center Head

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Addis Ababa  October 14/2021 /ENA/ The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will regulate the water flow of Nile River and reduce flooding risks and sedimentation in downstream countries, Arba Minch University Water Resource Research Center Director Samuel Degalo said.
The director told ENA that the dam will benefit the downstream countries, especially Sudan, by regulating the water flow and sediments.

“The dam will regulate the water flow, reduce flooding risks and sediments. Especially for Sudan, it will give incredible benefits by protecting the reservoirs of their dams from sediments,” he added.

According to Samuel, the dam with a big reservoir will regulate a steady flow of water in the river and reduce risky floods that have occasionally been killing people, causing massive displacement, and loss of properties in Sudan.

In Sudan, heavy rains and flooding during August and September 2021 have, for instance, affected more than 314,000 people.  

Since GERD is built to generate electricity, the dam will benefit the downstream countries, whether Ethiopia likes it or not, the director stated.

Despite the mutual benefits of the dam, however, the issue has recently been highly politicized by Sudan which is skillfully maneuvered by Egypt.

“This is more of politics rather than technical…But the current politics in play will not help. Nature and politics do not go together,” he explained, pointing out that the Egyptians want to maintain the historic water usage hegemony on the river and the Sudanese follow Egypt.

“The fact is that the Sudanese experts know the benefits of the dam very well. The Egyptians, however, want to maintain the average 55.5 billion cubic meter water share. And the Sudanese follow them sheepishly. The previous stand of Sudan was, in fact, right as it benefits the country.”

The director of the research center called on researchers to inform the relevant stakeholders on the technical issues of the dam and the win-win approach to benefit from the dam.

He further stressed the need to protect the Nile River basin, especially at upstream level, and the lower riparian countries to cooperate and support Ethiopia.

Ethiopia stated few years ago that the dam will not significantly harm either Egypt or Sudan, but will benefit the countries by removing 86 percent of the sedimentation load and conserving water by regulating flow that will allow reliable all-season water supply.