Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam is constructed in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, June 28, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have received offers from four firms to conduct technical studies on the latter's large-scale dam project, which Cairo fears will affect its supply of water from the Nile River.
Alaa Yassin, spokesperson on the Ethiopia dam issue for Egypt's irrigation ministry, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website on Monday that the tripartite committee will meet by the first week of March in Khartoum to choose a firm.
He added that three of the firms that made offers are European while the other is Australian.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had originally selected seven international firms in October 2014 to prepare technical and financial offers to conduct studies on Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam project.
They were expected to choose a firm by mid-December. However, the deadline was extended and some firms withdrew.
The selected firm's report is expected to include the dam's impact on upstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan, as well as its environmental, social and economic effects.
Egypt fears Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, of which 40 percent is built, will adversely affect its share of the Nile water. Ethiopia is building the dam on the Blue Nile, the river's most significant tributary, supplying most of its water.
Egypt has pointed out previously some technical concerns over the dam, including its storage capacity, currently set at 74 billion cubic metres.
Egypt will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current 55 billion cubic metre quota, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.
The 6,000 megawatt dam, set to be Africa's largest, is expected to be fully completed by 2017.