GERD Can Address Energy Scarcity in Basin, Integrate Region: UNESCO Int’l Water COOP Chair

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Addis Ababa August 31/2022/ENA/ The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) can easily address a certain part of energy scarcity in the Nile basin countries and bring about integration in the region, UNESCO International Water Cooperation Chairperson said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Professor Ashok Swain said the hydro power project with a huge dam will provide less carbon energy to the basin countries.

Even if Africa has huge potential to develop, the continent has been lacking the power that enables it to develop, he noted, adding that GERD is therefore a big step forward not only for Ethiopia but also to the basin countries.

If developed cooperatively, GERD can connect the countries, develop the basin and bring huge benefit for economic development, the chairperson elaborated.

According to the professor, Ethiopia would not worry about storing much water in the dam for continuous supply of energy if all the Nile basin countries connect because it can allocate the water or release the water at the need for the downstream countries. But it has to be ensure that the energy supply is there with joint green power.

Ethiopia can provide energy to other countries when there is enough water in the system, but in case there is a long-term drought season because of climate change the downstream countries can get water from the Ethiopian reservoir.

But Ethiopia needs to be compensated with energy, the professor underscored.

Egypt has gas reserve that can produce energy from its own gas supplies, and “if you have a joint system, then you can provide that energy from other country. This is not rocket science. It has been done in other parts of the world like in central Asia.”

Professor Swain further said that Ethiopia needs energy in the winter time whereas downstream countries need more water in the summer time. But the water will come any way, and even Egypt has its own dam and can store the water.

The large amount of water is on the Ethiopian side, he stated, adding that Ethiopia will continue to release the water because if not released the water cannot produce energy. So, the water will go to the Egypt side from Ethiopia side.

This is how to coordinate among them and it will solve the problem. “It is not a big deal; it is a matter of political willingness”, he pointed out.

The professor emphasized that cooperation among the basin countries will enable them to get large benefit rather than going to unilaterally develop the precious water resource in the basin.

Ethiopia was leading that development process in Africa for some period of time, he said. “Ethiopia was a singing star in Africa as a development model on how to grow faster. The country in particular and Africa in general has huge potential to develop.”