Ethiopia begins filling Grand Renaissance dam on Blue Nile

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Ethiopia began filling Grand Renaissance, a large hydroelectric dam it’s constructing on the Blue Nile, its water minister mentioned on Wednesday after talks with Sudan and Egypt over the construction grew to become deadlocked.Ethiopia says the colossal dam provides a important alternative to tug hundreds of thousands of its nearly 110 million residents out of poverty. The undertaking is the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to develop into Africa’s largest energy exporter.  “The construction of the dam and the filling of the water go hand in hand,” Water Minister Seleshi Bekele mentioned in feedback broadcast on tv. “The filling of the dam doesn’t need to wait until the completion of the dam.”
The water stage elevated from 525 metres (1,720 toes) to 560 metres (1,840 toes), mentioned Bekele.
The move is more likely to immediate fierce protests from Egypt and Sudan, which additionally rely on the Nile’s waters.
Sudan’s authorities mentioned on Wednesday water ranges on the Blue Nile had declined by 90 million cubic metres per day after Ethiopia began filling the dam on its facet of the border.
Sudan rejects unilateral actions taken by any occasion as negotiating efforts proceed between the 2 nations and Egypt, its irrigation ministry mentioned in an announcement.
There was no fast response from Egypt. 171022074240615 Cairo informed the United Nations final month it faces an “existential threat” from the hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile River. ‘Sovereign proper’
Relying on the Nile for greater than 90 p.c of its water provide and already dealing with excessive water stress, Egypt fears a devastating impact on its inhabitants of 100 million.
In June, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry warned battle might erupt if the UN fails to intervene, because the dam endangers the lives of 150 million Egyptians and Sudanese.
Awol Allo, from Keele University within the UK, mentioned Egypt is demanding adherence to a 1959 water treaty, signed between Cairo and Khartoum, that gave Egypt the lion’s share of the Nile’s annual circulation.
Ethiopia was not included in that treaty. “I think Ethiopia has been negotiating for a considerable amount of time in good faith to reach a settlement on this issue, but the Egyptians insist on the 1959 treaty as the starting point,” Allo informed Al Jazeera. “There is strong public support for the Ethiopian government to get on with the dam. The majority of Ethiopians are on the same page – that is it is their sovereign right to fill and open the dam.” Egypt, Ethiopia focus on Nile dam dispute at UN Security Council Africa’s largest dam
Cairo was anxious to safe a legally binding deal that may assure minimal flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes earlier than the dam began working.
Sudan stands to learn from the undertaking via entry to low-cost electrical energy and decreased flooding, however it has additionally raised fears over the dam’s operation.
The dam is being constructed 15km (9 miles) from the border with Sudan on the Blue Nile, the supply of many of the Nile’s waters. 
The newest spherical of negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the contentious dam ended with no settlement on Tuesday, in keeping with Egyptian and Sudanese officers.
The failure sank modest hopes the three nations might resolve their variations and signal an settlement on the dam’s operation earlier than Ethiopia started to fill the $4.6bn Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be Africa’s largest.
Ethiopia says greater than 60 p.c of the nation is dry land with no sustaining water assets, whereas Egypt is endowed with groundwater and has entry to seawater that could possibly be desalinated.
Addis Ababa had beforehand pledged to begin storing water within the dam’s huge reservoir at first of the moist season in July, when rains flood the Blue Nile.

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