Dam on the Nile river : 5 questions to understand them - to The Point

uncertainty surrounds the future of the grand dam of the Renaissance. The new cycle of discussions that opens will he achieve after decades of negotiations betw

Dam on the Nile river : 5 questions to understand them - to The Point

uncertainty surrounds the future of the grand dam of the Renaissance. The new cycle of discussions that opens will he achieve after decades of negotiations between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt ? The situation is very tense around this mammoth project and controversial on the Nile. A new meeting under the auspices of the african Union (AU) will be held in principle on 3 August, announced on Monday, to press the sudanese minister of Irrigation and water Resources. It is the presidency of south africa who must reunite the three countries and focus this time on the " outstanding issues ". And the least we can say is that it is a lot. The last cycle, hosted in Pretoria by Cyril Ramaphosa at the head of the AU, has made little progress, as the previous cycles. It goes without saying that it is a question of negotiations of the last chance.

Called to become the largest hydroelectric facility in Africa, the grand dam of the Renaissance (Gerd), built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, which joined the Sudan the White Nile to form the Nile, is a source of strong tensions with Egypt since 2011. Ethiopia is estimated that the Gerd is essential for its economic development, while Egypt – which the irrigation and drinking water depend on 90 % of the Nile – considered as a vital threat. Egypt and Sudan, downstream, want a global agreement on the dam – and particularly the manner in which it is managed – but Ethiopia is reluctant. Egypt also refers to "a historical right" on the river which was guaranteed by treaties signed in 1929 and 1959. But Ethiopia is based on a treaty signed in 2010 and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan and authorizing irrigation projects and dams on the river.

this is a crucial issue since Ethiopia announced in mid-July that it had reached the level of fill planned for the first year of the tank, a colossus of concrete and 145 metres high. Something to feed the tension is already strong between Cairo and Addis Ababa.

Read also a Dam on the Nile river : Ethiopia plays on all tables

Why the dam is so controversial ?

The dam is located in the west of Ethiopia on the blue Nile river, which converges with the white Nile in the capital of sudan Khartoum to form the Nile river and continue on its course through Egypt to the Mediterranean sea.

Sudan and Egypt are worried about the effects of the Gerd on the flow of the river, particularly in the case of drought.

Egypt also refers to "a historical right" on the river which was guaranteed by treaties signed in 1929 and 1959. But Ethiopia is based on a treaty signed in 2010 and boycotted by Egypt and Sudan and authorizing irrigation projects and dams on the river.

A little more than half of the approximately 110 million Ethiopians do not have access to electricity, and the Gerd, which will become the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa with a production capacity of 5 to 150 megawatts, would greatly remedy this situation.

Read also a Dam on the Nile : the caution of the Sudan

Ethiopia, she began to fill the Gerd ?

The regional tensions on the dam became nastier in recent months on the question of the filling of the reservoir, with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters of water.

Egypt and the Sudan are calling for the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on the management of the dam before Ethiopia does to fill.

But Ethiopia believes that the commencement of the filling operations is a key step in the construction of the dam and the Addis Ababa acknowledged last week that the water accumulating in the tank.

Several officials ethiopians have attributed this accumulation to natural causes : swollen by the heavy rains of the rainy season, the river has seen its flow exceed the ability of the valves of the dam to pass water downstream, causing the start of the fill.

in This state, at least 4.9 billion cubic meters, which is the level expected for the first year, which has accumulated in the tank and that should allow you to test the first two turbines of the dam. Ethiopia hopes to begin producing electricity in early 2021 at the latest.

also Read Nicolas Baverez – The war of the Nile will it take place ?

filling, how does it work ?

The beginning of the filling of the tank is it related to the heavy rainfall or the Ethiopians have they accelerated the process by closing the valves of the dam ? The question is not clear.

To Kevin Wheeler, an engineer from the university of Oxford who has studied the Gerd, " Ethiopia did not need to do anything to the dam begins to hold water ", in view, in particular, "of the abundant rainfall this year," and " the current elevation of the structure ".

as the dam rises, its weir (or spillway) is also positioned lower in height, which means that the building retains more water.

Ethiopia intends to fill the reservoir in five years, saying it was ready to consider extending this period to seven years.

Read also a Dam on the Nile : a compromise sketched out between the parties

What about negotiations ?

The question of the beginning of filling operations should not make us forget the other points of dispute, point out observers.

The central issues of dispute resolution and the operation of the dam in times of drought have not been the subject of an agreement, despite numerous meetings between the stakeholders.

The african Union has recently taken the lead in talks, and at their last summit by video conference Tuesday, the three countries have just agreed to continue the discussions.

For Mostafa Kamel el-Sayed, professor of political science at Cairo university, the recent developments are " a debacle for the diplomacy egyptian ".

"It is very surprising to see that the egyptian government has agreed to resume talks" while Ethiopia has shown "no sign of easing its position," added the professor.

also Read These if tough negotiations about the great dam on the Nile river

That means the dam for Ethiopia ?

It is a source of national pride in Ethiopia for years.

The work started in 2011 under the aegis of the Prime minister Meles Zenawi, who had made an instrument for the eradication of poverty.

The officials were then given a month's salary, and the government then issued bonds to help finance this project of more than $ 4 billion (3.5 billion euros), almost entirely paid for by Ethiopia.

Nearly a decade later, the dam is one of the symbols of the aspirations of the Ethiopia development and one of the few factors of national unity in a country being crossed by political fractures and marked ethnic.

also Read These if tough negotiations about the great dam on the Nile river

writing will advise you

René Lefort : "Ethiopia is on a tipping point," Great work, Ethiopia : this dam pharaonic angry These if tough negotiations about the great dam on the Nile river Dam on the Nile river : a compromise sketched out between the parties Nicolas Baverez – The war of the Nile will it take place ? Dam on the Nile : the caution of the Sudan
Updated Date: 28 July 2020, 10:33

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