Amounts of water reaching Aswan High Dam’s lake increasing: Egypt’s irrigation minister

Ahmed Morsy , Sunday 8 Aug 2021

As a result of the rising amounts of water reaching the High Dam lake, additional quantities of water have been released into the Nile River's course to wash it and improve the water quality, Abdel-Ati said

File photo: A view of Aswan High Dam on the Nile in Aswan, Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)
File photo: A view of Aswan High Dam on the Nile in Aswan, Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The amount of water reaching the Aswan High Dam’s lake has been increasing due to mounting rates of rainfall over the River Nile’s headwaters, Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Sunday.

This was measured during the continuous follow-up on the position of the Nile River's revenue for the current water year, and the monitoring of heavy rains and torrential rains at the river’s headwaters, a statement by the ministry said.

Abdel-Ati directed in the statement, which was issued following a meeting of the Permanent Committee for Regulating the Nile Revenue, the necessity of continuous follow-up on the protection facilities from the dangers of existing torrents, and follow-up of the implementation status of protection projects currently being implemented.

As a result of the rising amounts of water reaching the High Dam lake, additional quantities of water have been released into the Nile River to wash its course and improve the water quality during the months of August and September, Abdel-Ati said.

Egypt, which is considered one of the most water-scarce countries in the world, receives around 60 bcm annually, mainly from the Nile. However, its needs stand at around 114 bcm, placing the 100-million-plus 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 and reusing 42 percent of its renewable, Abdel-Ati said in an earlier statement.

The minister directed on Sunday that the committee should be in a continuous session to take the necessary measures to deal with the river's revenue, follow up on the water situation, and deal with heavy rains and torrential rains, the statement noted.

Egypt relies on the Blue Nile – which originates in Ethiopia and is one of the two main tributaries of the world's longest river – and the White Nile, which converges in Khartoum, before flowing north through Egypt and into the Mediterranean Sea.

The annual Nile flooding, which takes place in August, September, and October, is caused by heavy rain in the Ethiopian highlands.

According to the Sudanese irrigation ministry, the River Nile’s levels in Khartoum recorded on Saturday16.86 meters, exceeding the flood level by 36 centimetres.

In a statement on Sunday, the Sudanese ministry urged the citizens in all sectors to take all necessary precautions.

This comes in parallel with the torrential rains Sudan has been witnessing in the previous few days due to heavy flooding, with many streets in the capital Khartoum deep in water leading to the damage of thousands of homes, according to AFP.

Moreover, the official Sudanese news agency SUNA reported that a number of houses has "collapsed" due to the heavy rains in Atbara, a city in Sudan's north-east.

The UN's humanitarian agency OCHA said on Thursday that some 12,000 people in eight out of the country's 18 states had been affected with "over 800 homes have reportedly been destroyed and over 4,400 homes damaged”.

In 2020, Ethiopia’s unilateral first-year filling of the GERD resulted in a double crisis for Sudan. Lands in Sudan saw drought due to the sudden filling of the 6,000-megawatt dam before witnessing catastrophic floods for concluding the GERD filling without notification and also because of the heavy rainfall the Ethiopian highlands witnessed.

The Sudanese Roseires dam’s reservoir, the capacity of which is only a billion cubic metres (bcm), is located 15 km away from the GERD, which Addis Ababa has been building since 2011 with a storage capacity of 74 bcm.

According to the Sudanese irrigation ministry, the Blue Nile’s levels in Sudan rose in late August and September 2020 to 17.57 metres (57 feet), breaking all records since measurements began more than a century ago and leaving more than 100 people dead and damaging tens of thousands of houses.

In Egypt, the level of the River Nile rose dramatically and caused the sinking of some lands in the Delta at the time.

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