It is doubtful Ethiopia has the capacity to complete the second filling of its controversial dam as planned, according to Abbas Sharaky, Professor of Geology and Water Resources at Cairo University.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Sharaky said that about 1 billion cbm of rain has fallen on the Blue Nile Basin in Ethiopia in the past three weeks.
He noted that the volume of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir is stable at 5 billion cbm, as shown in the last satellite images, despite the large number of clouds. In only a few weeks, the torrential rains are set to begin that will rise water levels over the middle corridor again.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia has failed to complete the concrete works for the top of the middle corridor at the controversial dam.
This comes despite Addis Ababa’s successive statements that the second filling of the GERD will commence in July as planned.
Sharaky added that Ethiopia is currently attempting to reach the highest possible height before the flood, as torrential rains are expected to occur in the coming few weeks and will rise over the middle corridor again.
“It is possible that Ethiopia will not be able to achieve the second storage in its full capacity (13.5 billion cbm),” he said, “The ramp may be less than 10 metres instead of 30 metres, and storing several billion cubic metres instead of 13.5 billion cbm, is the expected situation.”
According to Sharaky, the expected amount of water that will be stored is capable of operating the dam’s two low turbines for some time, should they be ready to operate. This will then achieve the Ethiopian Government’s political objective for its people.
He stressed that, despite Egypt’s rejection of any unilateral Ethiopian measures related to the second filling, Cairo is prepared for the second storage.
“Preparation does not mean accepting the status quo, but means that Egypt through its various projects, on top of which is the Aswan High Dam, secures access to water to citizens, and at the same time takes various methods to preserve its water rights,” he said.