Ethiopia prepares for fifth filling of GERD: Water expert

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Nov 2023

Ethiopia has started discharging water from the middle corridor of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in preparation for the fifth filling, Abbas Sharaki, professor of geology and water resources at Cairo University, said on Tuesday.

Ethiopia s unilateral filling of the GERD is in breach of the Declaration of Principles photo: AFP


On his Facebook page, Sharaki posted satellite images taken on Tuesday evening showing the GERD’s eastern gate fully open, with water passing over the dam’s middle corridor.

Sharaki expected the passage of water to stop within a week, making the corridor dry, a step he said would be followed by heightening the dam’s sides and its middle corridor.

Ethiopia had already taken the same step in January 2023 ahead of the fourth filling of its multi-billion dollar dam, but it started this time about 3 months earlier, he added.

Over the past three years, Addis Ababa unilaterally completed four phases of filing the disputed dam and operating two turbines despite the absence of agreement with downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.

Sharaki said the fifth filling is a violation of the Declaration of Principles signed between the three countries in March 2015, all previous agreements, and all international norms related to establishing water projects on shared rivers.

The dam has been of concern to Egypt and Sudan.

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

Sudan fears the GERD will put the operation of its Roseires dam and the lives of 20 million Sudanese citizens at “a very high risk” if no agreement is reached.

Both downstream countries have repeatedly expressed their rejection of the Ethiopian unilateral actions.

Egypt and Sudan have recently started a fresh round of negotiations with Ethiopia to reach an agreement on the filling and operation rules of the dam.

This is the first round of talks since the previous one sponsored by the African Union failed in April 2021.

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