Positive Environment News

Ethiopia studies on Nile dam fall short, Egypt says

Date: 03-Jun-13
Country: EGYPT
Author: Tom Perry and Asma Alsharif

Ethiopia studies on Nile dam fall short, Egypt saysPhoto: Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Boats travel in the Egyptian Nile River in Cairo May 28, 2013.
Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Ethiopia has not thought hard enough about the impact of its ambitious dam project along the Nile, Egypt said on Sunday, underlining how countries downstream are concerned about its impact on water supplies.

The Egyptian presidency was citing the findings of a report put together by a panel of experts from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the impact of the plan to build a $4.7 billion hydroelectric dam.

Ethiopia triggered deep concern in Egypt last week when it began work to divert the river as part of the project. Egypt depends on the Nile for nearly all its water.

Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, who met the Egyptian members of the tripartite committee on Sunday, referred the report to his government for "urgent action" with Sudan and Ethiopia to agree on steps to safeguard the river's flow.

Citing the findings of the report, the presidency said Ethiopia's "studies were not adequate for a project of this scale, and the committee's report recommended more studies of the economic and social aspects, the security of dams and water resources, not to mention the environmental aspects".

Ethiopia has laid out plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnessing the rivers that run through its rugged highlands, to become Africa's leading power exporter.

Centerpiece to the plan is the Grand Renaissance Dam being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz region bordering Sudan. Now 21 percent complete, it will eventually have a 6,000 megawatt capacity, the government says, equivalent to six nuclear power plants.

(Writing by Tom Perry and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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