Minister of irrigation and water sources Hossam El-Moghazi (Photo :Al-Ahram)
Egypt's irrigation minister said the Khartoum agreement that was reached on Tuesday between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the Grand Renaissance Dam prevents the latter nation from starting filling the dam's reservoir until technical studies are finished next October.
Speaking in a TV interview after the agreement was made, Hossam Moghazi said that among the important decisions reached after three days of talks between the tripartite countries in Khartoum, is that field visits to the dam area will be permitted by Egyptian and Sudanese experts.
Moghazi also said that Dutch firm Deltares, which withdrew in September citing that there were no guarantees that an independent study could be carried out, was replaced by Arterlia who will conduct impact studies on the dam alongside the firm BRL. Both companies are French.
Denying rumors that have been spread in the Egyptian media recently that suggest the dam's reservoir has began to be filled, Moghazi stated that the construction works were progressing according to the agreed upon roadmap.
Cairo has repeatedly expressed concerns that filling and operating the dam, which is being built on the Blue Nile, will reduce the supply of Nile water that reaches downstream Egypt. Ethiopia has rejected these claims.
Ethiopia said several times that the dam solely aims to produce electricity, amid fears that Egypt's share of Nile water -- that stands currently at 55 billion cubic metres -- would be reduced.