Ethiopia denies filling Nile Renaissance Dam without Egyptian agreement
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Addis Ababa - Ethiopia on Wednesday denied reports it is
filling the reservoir of Africa's largest dam on the Nile without
agreement from downstream Egypt and Sudan.
Water had solely increased in the 4.6-billion-dollar Grand Ethiopian
Renaissance Dam (GERD) due to seasonal, heavy rainfall, Ethiopian
Minister of Water and Irrigation Seleshi Bekele told dpa.
"There is a lot of water going through. There is heavy rainfall and
the inflow is much greater than the outflow," Seleshi said.
The increased water level had caused various local and international
media to report that Ethiopia has started to fill the dam on
Sudan's Water Ministry responded to the reports late on Wednesday,
saying relevant agencies had measured water levels of the Blue Nile
and confirmed they were down.
"It was evident from the flow meters in the Dimim border station with
Ethiopia that there is a retreat in the water levels, equivalent to
90 million cubic meters per day, confirming the closure of the gates
of the Renaissance Dam," a statement said.
Sudan would continue to closely monitor the developments and act to
protect its national interest, the statement added, before condemning
any unilateral action.
The dam, which Ethiopia has been building since 2010 on the Blue
Nile, has long caused animosity with Egypt.
Recently, decade-long arduous talks involving the two downstream
countries, Egypt and Sudan, reached a deadlock, with Egypt turning to
the UN Security Council in June.
Egypt seeks a legally binding deal that would guarantee the
appropriate flows of water and a legal mechanism for resolving
disputes before the dam starts operating.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also warned Ethiopia against
going it alone. The country considers Ethiopia's threat to fill the
74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir this month both unacceptable and
Ethiopia wants the hydroelectric dam in order to expand its power
exports, whereas Egypt relies almost exclusively on the Nile for
farming, industry and domestic water use.
It is concerned that the GERD's sluices will control water flow in
ways that will make life difficult for Egyptians.
Ethiopia says Egyptian concerns are baseless.