Ethiopia diverts Blue Nile for controversial dam build

9 mins read

BBC / 28 May 2013

Ethiopia has started diverting a stretch of the Blue Nile to make way for a $4.7bn (£3.1bn) hydroelectric dam that has caused a dispute with countries downstream, state media say.

The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which is currently under construction, is part of a $12bn (£8bn) investment project to boost power exports.

The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the Nile – one of the world’s longest rivers.

Egypt and Sudan object to the dam.

They say it violates a colonial-era agreement, which gives them rights to 90% of the Nile’s water.

‘Fair use’

The Grand Renaissance Dam, which is being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz region bordering Sudan, will eventually have a 6,000 megawatt capacity, according to the Ethiopian government. This is the equivalent of at least six nuclear power plants.

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The dam’s construction… does not cause any harm on any country”

Alemayehu TegenuEthiopia  Energy  Minister

“The dam is being built in the middle of the river so you can’t carry out construction work while the river flowed,” Mihret Debebe, chief executive officer of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, told the Reuters news agency.

“This now enables us to carry out civil engineering work without difficulties. The aim is to divert the river by a few metres and then allow it to flow on its natural course.”

Ethiopia claims to be the source of about 85% of the total water in the Nile.

The Blue Nile originates in the country’s Lake Tana and flows hundreds of miles north into Sudan and then Egypt before eventually flowing into the Mediterranean.

Egypt is particularly dependant on the water supply, with growing populations placing it under increasing strain, although Sudan also relies on the source.

Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs, Ali Hifni, said that the diversion of the river was not something to worry about, according to the Egyptian state-run news agency Mena.

But Mr Hifni said that the dam itself was of concern.

Experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are set to announce findings of a study into the impact of the Ethiopian dam on the Nile’s flow in the coming weeks.

Ethiopia’s energy minister, moved to dispel fears over the dam’s impact, Reuters reports.

“The dam’s construction benefits riparian countries, showcases fair and equitable use of the river’s flow and does not cause any harm on any country,” Alemayehu Tegenu said.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa

 

 

Ethiopia diverts flow of Blue Nile to build dam; Nile-dependent Egypt says it’s not impacted

By Associated Press, Published: May 28

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia started to divert the flow of the Blue Nile river to construct a giant dam on Tuesday, according to its state media, in a move that could impact the Nile-dependent Egypt.The official Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnin as telling officials at a ceremony diverting flow at the dam construction site that the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will provide hydroelectricity, not only for Ethiopia but also for neighboring countries.Downstream nations Egypt and Sudan have objected to the construction, saying it violates a colonial-era agreement which gives Egypt nearly 70 percent of Nile River waters.
Egypt says its population of 90 million is among the largest in Africa and that unlike other Nile Basin countries, it does not have readily available alternative water sources.Ethiopia says the dam will not affect Egypt and that the 1959 agreement ignores the needs of five upriver countries. Some 84 percent of the water from the world’s longest river originates in Ethiopia.
The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the river. The White Nile, flowing through Sudan, is the other.Egypt’s presidency said Tuesday that it is awaiting a report by the Tripartite Nile Basin Committee, comprised of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, to determine its next steps. President Mohammed Morsi’s spokesman downplayed concerns from the move, saying it will not have a negative impact the amount of Nile water reaching Egypt.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ethiopia Diverts Nile for Huge $4.7 Billion Hydro Dam

Reuters

May 28, 2013

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A boat cruises in the Egyptian Nile River in Cairo, May 28, 2013.

 

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia began diverting a stretch of the Nile on Tuesday to make way for a $4.7 billion hydroelectric dam that is worrying downstream countries dependent on the world’s longest river for water.The Horn of Africa country has laid out plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnessing the rivers that run through its rugged highlands, to become Africa’s leading power exporter.

Centerpiece to the plan is the Grand Renaissance Dam being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz region bordering Sudan. Now 21 percent complete, it will eventually have a 6,000 megawatt capacity, the government says, equivalent to six nuclear power plants.

“The dam is being built in the middle of the river so you can’t carry out construction work while the river flowed,” said Mihret Debebe, chief executive officer of the state-run Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, at a ceremony at the site.

“This now enables us to carry out civil engineering work without difficulties. The aim is to divert the river by a few meters and then allow it to flow on its natural course.”

Ethiopia’s ambitions have heightened concerns in Egypt over fears the projects may reduce the river’s flow. Addis Ababa has long complained that Cairo was pressuring donor countries and international lenders to withhold funding.

Ethiopia’s energy minister moved to dispel fears over the dam’s impact.

“The dam’s construction benefits riparian countries, showcases fair and equitable use of the river’s flow and does not cause any harm on any country,” Alemayehu Tegenu said in a speech.

Mohamed Bahaa El-Din, Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, said Cairo was not opposed to Ethiopia’s development projects as long as they did not harm downstream countries.

“Crises in the distribution and management of water faced in Egypt these days and the complaints of farmers from a lack of water confirms that we cannot let go of a single drop of water from the quantity that comes to us from the Upper Nile,” he said.

A panel of experts from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan is set to announce its findings on the impact of the Ethiopian dam on the Nile’s flow in the next two weeks.

6 Comments

  1. dear Z-Habesha

    i heard from you the construction is stoped becouse of finance shortage now u are saying they are on the stage of divering the river who do we belive.they are doing good job god bless all the people who are participating on the constrution of the dam

  2. Waw! Ethiopia finally got smart leaders that think positive economic change, instead of war frivolous politics.

  3. Lies of Woyanes are never ending.A few years back they were deafening our ears by Ginlegel Gibe-I (which was ofcourse built by Derg almost 90% and before inauguration the Derg regime is gone and Woyane would like to take the credit but every body knows that well), Gilgel Gibe II (which was fake and the canal got collapsed long before offering the intended service and shameless woyanes didnot feel any sense of guilt for dessiminating false propaganda) then they tried to make further development dram on the series of Gilgel Gibe III but they didn’t go far and everything is abandoned. The intention of all these fake development agendas was to secure international loan and aid but after the western countries the main donor countries have been striken by economic recession and desperate Woyane finally came up with Grand dam Abbay project to exploite the poverty side of the country and secure loan from IMF and World bank which later the money be diverted to Tigray and foreign banks unfortunatellly they are unsuccessful and luck was not on the side of Woyanes or thiefs.

  4. Wet gize gize meshebih by providing unrelevant comment. Go to school and learn what politics is and how you can be presenting smart and persuasive ideas. Enough to help you out, not only to wey gize but also others. Shhhhhh.

  5. There is a big gap b/n political ideology & national interest if we glance it as a true citizen! we never give up to the end caz its national and regional issue. we are ready 4 what they plan b4 or after tripartites report! damn downs

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