Ethiopia completes 3rd filling of controversial dam despite Egypt’s objection



Fri, 12 Aug 2022 - 02:58 GMT


Fri, 12 Aug 2022 - 02:58 GMT

The third filling of GERD- photo from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry's Twitter account

The third filling of GERD- photo from the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry's Twitter account

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Water, Nile Water, GERD

CAIR0- 12 August 2022: Ethiopia has completed third filling of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, announced Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday.


He added in a televised speech at the site of the dam in Guba town that his country is working to “ensure the benefits” of the downstream basin countries of Egypt and Sudan, despite the two latter’s objection to Ethiopian unilateral filling without reaching a legally binding agreement among the three countries.



“Just as Abbay River [water resource for the three countries in the Ethiopian Plateau] has connected the three countries for thousands of years, the Grand Renaissance Dam built on the river allows us to live in cooperation with our neighbors. More importantly, as the dam prevents sedimentation, it will reduce the amount of wealth and human lives lost in the downstream countries due to floods” Abiy was quoted by Ethiopian news agency (ENA) on Friday. He called upon Egypt and Sudan for continuing the dialogue over the controversial dam.


Ethiopia also announced on Thursday that the second turbine of the dam turned on to produce electricity. The first turbine operated in February. The two turbines are generating 750 megawatt..


In late July 2022, Egypt submitted an official complaint to the United Nations against Ethiopia over the third filling of the Renaissance Dam. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry submitted a letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council, to register Egypt's objection and complete rejection of Ethiopia's continuation of filling the Renaissance Dam unilaterally without an agreement with Egypt and Sudan on the filling and operation of this dam.


Egypt, through the negotiations that took place over the past years, has sought to reach a fair and equitable agreement on the GERD, but Ethiopia has foiled all the efforts made in this regard to resolve this crisis, the foreign minister said in his letter.


While Egypt sticks to the need to reach an agreement on the Renaissance Dam that achieves the common interests of the three countries, the Egyptian State will not tolerate any prejudice to its rights or water security or any threat to the Egyptian people, for whom the Nile River represents its lifeline, he added.


Meanwhile, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez said Egypt had received a letter from Ethiopia on July 26, in which it stated that Addis Ababa would continue filling the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam during the current flood season; a measure that Egypt rejects and constitutes a breach of the obligations imposed by international law.


Egypt renewed its demand for Ethiopia to comply with the rules of international law and principles governing transnational waterways, the spokesman said.


Cairo holds Addis Ababa fully responsible for any significant harm to Egyptian interests that may result from Ethiopia's violation of its obligations, he added.


Egypt asserts its legitimate right guaranteed in the UN Charter to take all necessary measures to protect its national security against any risks posed by Ethiopia's unilateral measures in the future, the spokesman concluded.


The first filling of the GERD took place on July 1- 21, 2020 with 4.9 billion cubic meters, while the second was carried out on July 4 – 18, 2021 with around three billion cubic meters.


The dispute among Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters].


Constructions in the Grand Renaissance Dam started on April 2, 2011 at a cost of $4.8 billion. It was built by the Italian construction and engineering company Salini Impergilo. The dam is located on the Blue Nile with a planned reservoir capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and was expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.


However, it is estimated to generate only 3,000 megawatts, as the number of turbines to be installed has been reduced to 13 turbines down from 16.


On January 13, Ethiopia declared it would begin removing 17,000 hectares of forests in February, which would take 60 days, to make possible conducting the third filling of the dam.




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