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The Tripartite National Technical Committee (NTC) representing the three Abay/Nile River riparian countries of Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt is expected to agree on a hydrology simulation model and socioeconomic impacts assessment proposal the two consulting firms will present at the 8th round meeting that will be held in Addis Ababa this month.
The committee will meet in Ethiopia from August 20 for two days.
At the 7th round meeting that was held in Khartoum, Sudan a week ago, the NTC agreed on the proposed areas of study. BRL Ingenierie, a French based company that will be a lead consultant, and the Dutch company Deltares won the international bid four months ago to undertake the study on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Sources said that BRL will deliver the draft proposal to the riparian countries days before the meeting. The countries will evaluate the proposal individually before the joint meeting on August 20.
Much attention hinges on the study as it will be instrumental to determine whether the dam will have an effect on the volume of water the river will have especially when it reaches downstream countries and effects that can be caused on the surrounding environment and communities.
The multi billion dollar GERD project that is being constructed on the Abay/Blue Nile River will become the biggest ever hydroelectric project on the African continent. The dam is designed to generate 6,000MW electric power, which will be for local consumption and partially for export.
At the meeting, the countries are expected to sign a deal with the consultants. The consultancy fee and time-frame are also the areas that the countries are expected to agree on.
Currently, the countries have agreed on the basic points of the study.
Since the commencement of the GERD’s construction that consume more than USD 4.2 billion, the downstream country Egypt fiercely claims that the dam will harm its interest; even though Ethiopia continuously asserted that the project will never have any effect on the downstream countries.
In March, the heads of governments of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam, agreeing to safeguard the interests of all three countries.
GERD is constructing on the Tikur Abay / Blue Nile River which has huge potential for hydro generation, while the country does not have significant development on the river.
In the project that is constructed by Italian contractor Salini Impregilo S.P.A, several local and international companies are involved. The project that will be completed in 2017 is entirely financed by local sources