The US President Donald Trump has expressed fears that the Egyptians may blow up the Grand Rennaissance Hydroelectric Dam being constructed by Ethiopians along the River Nile.
This concern was raised during a phone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok and President Trump.
Egypt and Sudan are concerned that about the impact of the $4.6bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on their water security.
Ethiopia begun constructing this dam is 2011 and by 2020 progress has already reached 70%. It is expected to generate more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity officials say. The country’s nearly 115 million population, the majority of whom are not currently connected to the grid. Ethiopians consider this dam as a major catalyst for driving millions of its people out of endemic poverty.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a 145-metre-high, 1.8-kilometre-long concrete colossus is set to become the largest hydropower plant in Africa.
However, dam is being viewed as a provocation to security of Egypt which also says is the lifeline of its people.
Egypt relies on the Nile water for the vast majority of its water consumption and is concerned that the filling of the dam will exacerbate a water shortage crisis in the event of a prolonged drought.
For the dam to fully become operational water has to be filled into the dam and this according to experts will take almost five years to fill it up so that the entire facility can fully operate.
The speed of the filling of the dam will potentially have an immediate effect on Egypt. If it takes five years to fill the dam, it will reduce Egypt’s water supply by 36 % and destroy half of Egypt’s farmland, according to the Egyptian government.
Therefore Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia have for the past decade been negotiating with a variety of mediators, including United States President Trump’s administration, have failed to produce a solution.
The three Nile Basin countries have been negotiating to reach an agreement on outstanding issues related to the impact of the $4.6bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on their water security.
Recently in August, Egypt and Sudan suspended their participation in talks with Ethiopia over its Renaissance Dam project after Addis Ababa presented a proposal that did not meet the demands of the two downstream countries.
Egypt and Sudan insist that binding agreements are needed to secure their future interests and water security, and must be agreed prior to the filling process.
Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources said that Ethiopia presented a proposal that did not include provisions about the binding nature of a future agreement and an international conflict resolution mechanism, two of the most concerning issues for Egypt in the talks.
“[We] stress the seriousness of the risks that the dam represents for Sudan and its people, including environmental and social risks, and for the safety of millions of residents along the banks of the Blue Nile… which reinforces the need to reach a comprehensive agreement covering both filling and operation,” the Sudanese irrigation ministry said.
Breaking News! 🔴
"..#Egypt|ians will blow up that dam.."
Says @realDonaldTrump railing against #Ethiopia in a 3 minutes long rant in a phone call with #Israel|i Prime Minister @IsraeliPM & #Sudan Prime Minister @SudanPMHamdok
Both were reluctant to go along with his rant. pic.twitter.com/cOYf2w1HOB
— Naty Yifru (@NatyYifru) October 23, 2020