Ethiopia starts filling dam after talks with Egypt, Sudan stall

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Dawit Endeshaw

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia has begun filling the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, its water minister said on Wednesday, a day after talks with Sudan and Egypt on the giant Blue Nile hydroelectric project stalled.

The comments by Seleshi Bekele did not address whether Ethiopia had closed the gates of the dam, or the role of recent heavy rains in filling the area behind it. The minister and his spokesman did not return calls seeking clarification.

The project has raised concerns in Egypt that already limited Nile waters, which its 100 million people depend on heavily, will be further restricted. The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile from which Egypt gets 90% of its fresh water.

Egypt asked Ethiopia for urgent clarification of whether it had started filling the dam, the foreign ministry said.

“The construction of the dam and the filling of the water go hand in hand,” Seleshi said in televised comments, a transcript of which was provided to Reuters by his spokesman. “The filling of the dam doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the dam.”

The water level had increased from 525 metres to 560 metres, he said.

The $4 billion dam, when finished, will have an installed capacity of 6,450 megawatts – more than doubling Ethiopia’s existing capacity – and is the centrepiece of the country’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

The dam is being built about 15 km (9 miles) from the border with Sudan. Sudan and Egypt have sought a legally binding agreement before the dam is filled.

Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources said it was prompted to investigate after satellite images appeared to show the dam filling.

“It was evident from the flow meters in the al-Deim 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,” it said in a statement.

Sudan rejects any unilateral actions taken by any party as negotiating efforts continue, it said.

On Tuesday, talks between the three nations to regulate the flow of water from the dam failed to reach agreement.

1 Comment

  1. This story that alleges the old country has started filling the dam is wrong. What was caught on a satellite image was nothing but Mother Nature doing it usual job. What happens when it rains in buckets(very heavy)? Raging flood ensues, right? What we see lately on many foreign media outlets is a wrongful accusation of those black folks. What do you expect them to do? Force mother nature to stop the rains just because those innocent black folks are scared to death that el-Sisi may send his clunky F16’s and let Dassault Rafales loose on them? Can you see them? They are scared out of their mind that they are seen hiding under their beds. All 114 million of them!!! Did those patriots H.E. Engineer Seleshi and H.E. Gedu tell you that? No? Then stop making it up!!! Nobody started filling the dam and that is the truth and nothing but the whole truth!!!

    THE OLD COUNTRY HAS NOT STARTED FILLING THE DAM. IT IS MOTHER NATURE AT WORK. GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT!!!

    This is a typical story being told lately by those who are salivating for a war breaking out between Egypt and Ethiopia. I tell you one assurance that you can it to the bank. If a war breaks out, Ethiopia will never be the one that starts it. Those law abiding and glorious people who produced us all have an indisputable history of not invading any foreign country. They were victims of foreign aggression but never victimize other countries.

    Stop falsifying the reality on the ground.

    O Mather Nature!!!! Keep on what you are doing!!! Rain on!!! Rain on in buckets on that Blessed Country!!!! People there are singing ‘Rain on me!!! Rain on me so I will triumph oven poverty!!! So harmony will rise over hate!!! So there will be middle class shaking and moving over despots!!! Rain on me!!!!!

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