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Renaissance dam good for Egypt: Project manager

Project manager insists Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance dam will increase the flow of water to Egypt

Ahram Online , Thursday 20 Mar 2014
Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance Dam
Labourers work at the Grand Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region March 16, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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The Grand Renaissance dam will not harm Ethiopia's "Egyptian brethren," its project manager has vowed.

Semegnew Bekele made the comment during a journalists' tour of the dam construction site in the country's Benishangul-Gumuz region, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.

Attempting to allay Egyptian fears that the dam will reduce its annual share of Nile water, Bekele stated the dam's turbines do not consume water and that the dam's reservoir will on the contrary provide more water to Egypt due to its projected role in decreasing evaporation levels.

Bekele added that the dam would also help in regulating water for upstream states, such as Egypt and Sudan, and claimed it would increase water flow to extend the river's navigability.

Despite Ethiopia's repeated insistence the dam would have no adverse effects on Egypt, the latter claims otherwise.

The Egyptian party to a tripartite commission in 2013 issued a report insisting there was a lack of necessary studies on the dam's construction. It warned its potential collapse would have disastrous effects on Nile Basin countries and claimed there had been insufficient studies on the dam's environmental and social impact.

Egypt has demanded that Ethiopia submit the dam's construction plans for assessment by international experts.

Months of negotiations between Egypt and Ethiopia have so far failed to reach a resolution.

Egypt's Irrigation Minister Mahmoud Abdel-Muttalib denounced in March what he described as Ethiopia's "obstinacy" towards building the dam.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy has also attacked Ethiopia's stance, stating he had directed Egypt's ambassadors to "follow up" on the issue with other states.

Sudan voiced its support for the dam last December.

Bekele told reporters the dam was being built with the utmost professionalism and responsibility and that Ethiopia was seasoned in undertaking such large-scale projects.

On 1 March, the Ethiopian government announced that 32 percent of construction had been completed, ignoring Egyptian pleas to halt the project until an agreement is struck between the countries.

 

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