Ethiopia Minister of Irrigation and Electricity Seleshi Bekele announced, on Wednesday, that his country has unilaterally started the first phase of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Bekele added that dam’s construction is proceeding normally.
Egypt requested urgent official clarification from Ethiopia government regarding Ethiopian dam’ filling, says Ahmed Hafez Spokesperson for Egypt’s Foreign Ministry. He also stressed Egypt will continue to follow updates in this regard.
The dam’s reservoir has a storage capacity of 4.9bn cbm, according to the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC). The broadcaster published photographs showing the beginning of the dam’s filling.
The move comes following the African Union-brokered negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan which ended on Monday without any agreement on disputed points regarding the Ethiopian dam.
Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation added that there are continued differences on fundamental issues regarding the rules of filling and operation of the dam Ethiopia has been building on the Blue Nile since 2011.
Egypt has repeatedly warned Addis Ababa against taking any unilateral measures without reaching an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam.
Egypt has expressed concerns regarding its possible impact on its 55bn cbm share of the River Nile’s water. However, Ethiopia insists that the dam will not negatively affect Egypt’s interests.
Both Egypt and Sudan have other fears over the dam’s security and safety due to its location in an active geologic region, which puts it at a risk of earthquakes or mass floods.