Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati
During the meeting of the Permanent Committee for Regulating the Nile’s Revenue, the minister reviewed the hydrological situation of the Nile River, the different scenarios of the annual flooding, and the Nile’s revenue in the current water year.
The Nile’s annual flooding — which takes place from July till September — is caused by heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands.
The meeting also tackled the mechanisms of fulfilling the water needs of the current agricultural season and for all other uses, noted a statement by the ministry.
Furthermore, Abdel-Ati was briefed on the status of the water level in canals and drains as well as the readiness of lifting stations nationwide to ensure the ability of the waterway grid to meet the needs of the current agricultural season.
The Permanent Committee for Regulating the Nile’s Revenue holds meetings regularly throughout the year to ensure that water resources are optimally managed to provide for the country’s water needs.
The meeting comes ahead of Ethiopian plans to start the third filling of the GERD in August.
Egypt and Sudan, the two downstream countries, have been involved in decade-long talks with Addis Ababa over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Egypt has been concerned that the filling and operation of the GERD will harm its historic share of the Nile water.
Meanwhile, Sudan is worried about the impact of the GERD on regulating flows to its own dams.
Egypt and Sudan, which do not oppose the GERD, have seeked to reach a binding deal with Ethiopia on the filling and operation of the dam. Ethiopia has rejected all such attempts.
In the absence of a legally binding deal, Ethiopia unilaterally completed the first and second filling of the dam, and started earlier this year operating first turbine of the GERD to generate power.
It also seeks to start the third filling in August and September, according to a recent announcement by the GERD project manager.
Some 85 percent of river waters in Egypt flow from the Ethiopian highlands through the Blue Nile — one of the Nile’s two main tributaries, along with the White Nile.
Egypt, which is considered one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, receives around 60 billion cubic metres (bcm) annually, mainly from the Nile.
However, the water needs of Egypt - with a population of over 102 million and growing - stand at around 114 bcm, placing country well below the international threshold for water scarcity at 560 cubic metres per person annually.
The large gap in water resources in Egypt is overcome by importing 54 percent of its virtual water — which is the embedded water required to produce commodities — and reusing 42 percent of its renewable water, Abdel-Ati said in an earlier statement.