A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 - AFP. A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015 - AFP.

Cairo: 2% decrease of Egypt’s Nile share causes 200K feddans non-arable

Tue, Sep. 10, 2019
CAIRO – 10 September 2019: Cairo voiced its hope to reach an agreement concerning a technical difference with Addis Ababa over the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), saying the 2-percent decline of Egypt’s Nile water share will turn 200,000 feddan into non-arable lands, said Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti on Monday.

In his speech at the opening session of the regional workshop, which was organized by FAO on climate change impacts on agriculture and water, Abdel-Atti affirmed Egypt’s openness to a cooperative agreement with Ethiopia, saying that reaching a deal help all parties and achieves Ethiopia’s development without causing grave harms to Egypt.

“Ninety-five of Egyptian territories are desert and we rely on Nile water by 95 percent, so the water resources in Egypt is very critical to any projects or works without prior coordination,” he said.

The problematic point between Egypt and Ethiopia is a technical one related to the period of filling the dam’s reservoir with water. Ethiopia asked for 5-6 years to fill the reservoir, while Egypt asked Ethiopia to abide by the Nile water quantity flow in filling the reservoir to “avoid any significant damage on the downstream countries,” former Head of the Central Department for Technical Cooperation at the Nile Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation Mamdouh Mohamed Hassan told Egypt Today in previous remarks.

According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Cabinet on August 22, 2019, Egypt submitted a “fair technical” solution for the disagreement between Cairo and Addis Ababa about the dam.

Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries reached an agreement, per which the downstream countries should not be affected by the construction of the dam.

Both President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed their keenness to resume the negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.
 
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