Egypt is 'highly sensitive' to any project to hold Nile water: Irrigation minister

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Mar 2015

Egypt has repeatedly voiced concern that Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, when finished, will reduce its water supply

Hossam Moghazi
Egyptian irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian irrigation minister Hossam Moghazi stressed that Egypt is “highly sensitive” towards any project to store Nile water in upstream countries, as it might diminish the country’s water supply, state news agency MENA reported.

Ethiopia is currently building a large dam on the Blue Nile, the Nile’s largest tributary.The Renaissace Dam is to include a 74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir when finished.

Egypt has repeatedly voiced anxiety that the dam will reduce its water supply, while Addis Ababa has claimed that the dam would not harm downstream countries Egypt and Sudan, and has continued construction.

Meeting on Tuesday with a Sudanese media delegation, Moghazi said that Egypt's current share of Nile water is already not enough to cover the country's needs.

Egypt's current water quota from the Nile is 55 billion cubic metres.

Yet, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute, the country will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year to meet the demands of a projected population of 150 million in 2050.

Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have agreed to select a consulting firm to conduct an impact study on the dam’s construction, but the selection process has been ongoing for months. The irrigation ministry in early March announced that four consulting firms had been shortlisted, but no still no final firm has been selected.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday met with Egyptian officials to discuss the different possible consulting firms for the study, according to the Ahram Arabic new website.

The three countries are now expected to announce the consulting firm when they meet in Khartoum at the end of the month.

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