FILE -Minister of Housing Moustafa Madbouly
CAIRO - 3 January 2020: Egypt’s Government chaired by Prime Minister Moutasfa Madbouly held a meeting to discuss the country’s plan of water rationalization to achieve sustainability, amid differences with Ethiopia, which announced filling the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam in July 2020.
As per the government’s 2020/2030 plan, the cultivated area of rice will decrease, irrigation drainages would be upgraded, and advanced irrigation systems across 5 million acres in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture will be applied, according to a statement by the Cabinet on Wednesday.
The meeting also tackled a number of megaprojects like desalination water plants, which are being established in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing. In addition to this, the prime minister, Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti and First Deputy Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Ragab Abdel-Azim discussed the ways of reducing drinking water waste.
During the third round of the tripartite meetings between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in Khartoum in December, Ethiopian Minister of Water Resources and Energy Seleshi Bekele announced that his country will start the first phase of filling the reservoir of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in July 2020.
Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion GERD; Cairo voiced concern over its water share after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.
In November, the US sent an invitation to the three countries to resume the talks. Meetings were held with foreign and water ministers of Egypt and Upper stream countries, in the presence of United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and a representative from the World Bank.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok suggested solving the technical issues regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam through mutual understanding, and said Sudan would defend Egypt’s right in water share.
In an interview with Editor-in-Chief of Egyptian state’s Al-Ahram newspaper Alaa Thabet, Hamdok affirmed that Sudan and Egypt have a similar stance concerning GERD and that information exchange would help the three countries reach a solution to the crisis.