Egypt prepared three scenarios to face GERD’s second filling: Irrigation minister

Ahram Online , Thursday 20 May 2021

The scenarios depend on the size of the annual flood

File Photo: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). REUTERS

Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Wednesday in a TV interview with Egyptian TV channel DMC that Egypt has prepared three scenarios to deal with the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam’s (GERD) second filling if Egypt and Sudan fail to reach to a legally binding agreement with Ethiopia before next July.

The scenarios depend on the size of the annual flood.

The first scenario is having a large-scale Nile river flood which will result in a safe amount of water in the Aswan High Dam’s lake that will allow Egypt to overcome the second filing of the GERD safely, Abdel-Ati said.

The second scenario, according to the minister, is having an average sized flood, which will provide Egypt with the same quantity of water which Ethiopia will reserve for the GERD.

The third scenario, which is the worst-case-scenario, is to have drought at the same time of the GERD’s second filing.

Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati revealed that the Ministry of Irrigation has taken several precautionary steps to face any shortage in water like reducing the agricultural spaces used for the cultivation of water-hungry crops like rice and bananas, as well as establishing agricultural drainage treatment plants and rain harvesting stations and dams in addition to the canal lining project.

He also stated that the second filing of the GERD will negatively impact Sudan more, pointing out the negative consequences Sudan suffered following the first filing of the GERD in 2020 due to Ethiopia’s unliteral actions.

Ethiopia plans to reserve 13.5 billion cubic meters of water during the second filling, Abdel-Ati told DMC, adding that the second filing will reduce the quantity of water coming to Egypt, especially if it happens during a drought.

Sudan warned last month that it would take legal action if Ethiopia moved forward with the second filling of the GERD in July without first signing a legally binding agreement.

Egypt’s 100 million-plus population is dependent on the Nile River for over 95 percent of its renewable water resources.

Sudan fears the GERD would put the operation of its Roseires dam and the lives of 20 million Sudanese citizens at “a very high risk” if an agreement regulating its operation and filling is not reached before the second filling.

Egypt fears that the massive $4.8 billion Ethiopian hydropower project will significantly diminish its crucial water supply, which is already below scarcity level.

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