GERD to be filled this rainy season regardless of study results

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Sileshi Bekele (phd)

The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity announced that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will be filled with water as soon as possible instead of waiting for external factors.
The dam on the river Tikur Abay (Blue Nile) is expected to be filled during the current rainy season.
Sileshi Bekele (PhD), Minister of Water Irrigation and Electricity, said GERD will be filled as soon as conditions allow.
“The dam project involves more than placing concrete, it has to be filled with water. Ethiopia has studied the process of filling the dam,” he said. Ethiopia’s strategy considers the downstream countries, according to Sileshi.
“If the recommendation of the two consultants comes with new ideas that can minimize the impact we will consider it. But we are not waiting for the study,” he added.
He did not know the exact time when the dam would begin to be filled. GERD is expected to generate 6,450 mw.
BRL Ingenierie and Artelia are the two French companies assigned to undertake study on the GERD.
Leaders of the Nile Basin countries met in Entebbe a week ago. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) Technical Advisory Committee and Council of Ministers of the basin comprised of foreign and water ministers talked about issues of the initiative and drafting the discussion points for the leaders’ meeting.
Entebbe Summit has focused on strategic issues, according to the water minister.
The major premise of the meeting was for the countries to cooperate and set a good example for the rest of the continent. They looked at economic, social and environmental issues that they could work together on.
The leaders’ summit also called on Egypt, who left the initiative with Sudan when the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) went into the signing stage, to re-join (NBI) without any preconditions. Sudan returned back to the NBI.
Egypt wants some articles to be annulled before they return to the initiative.
“Leaders have agreed that NBI has a different mandate that is not related to the CFA so they called Egypt to come back to NBI without offering any precondition,” Seleshi explained. Leaders also talked about forming the Nile River Basin Commission.
CFA was signed by all Nile Basin countries except for Egypt and Sudan. The agreement has been ratified by the parliament of three nations.