Head of the Fisheries Authority Amani Ismail has warned of the threat posed to Egypt by the construction of a dam in Ethiopia.
Writing on the authority’s official website, Ismail said: “There is no longer room for doubt that Egypt is facing a real disaster in the coming months.” She said that the impending disaster is a result of the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Baha’a El-Din’s recognition of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.
Ismail highlighted that the GERD will change the course of the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile. She believes that this will cause Egypt and Sudan to lose out on 18m cubic metres of water and reduce the electricity produced by the Aswan Dam by approximately 25%-30%.
Ismail accused the governments of President Mohamed Morsi and former president Hosni Mubarak of not taking action to prevent these losses.
Ismail’s criticisms come after Baha’a El-Din asserted that Egypt is committed to fair distribution of the water from the Nile.
The GERD has led to strained relations with Sudan and Egypt, as it will greatly reduce the amount of water flow and consequentially reduce their share of Nile water.
In September 2012 Egypt denied allegations of a plot to bomb the GERD. The story was printed by a Sudanese newspaper that cited whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks as a source.
Egypt has long received the largest share of the water from the Nile, as per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959, which guaranteed Egypt 55.5bn cubic metres annually of the estimated total of 84bn cubic metres.
Egypt has held a number of meetings and consultations on the issue, including talks with Burundi and Sudan. In January, Egypt refused to sign the Entebbe agreement with other Nile-basin countries. Baha’a El-Din claimed that it was not suitable for downstream countries like Egypt.