Govt accountable for Ethiopian dam 'failure': Egyptian analyst

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 May 2013

Nile Basin expert argues that the government has played down the negative effects that Ethiopian dam project will have on Egypt

Hisham Qandil
Egypt's Prime minister, Hisham Qandil (Photo: Reuters)

Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam Project, which began diverting water from the Blue Nile on Tuesday, will have a hugely negative impact on Egypt, stated an Egyptian expert.

Hani Raslan, head of the Sudan and Nile Water Basin department at Egypt's Al-Ahram Centrefor Political and Strategic Studies, stated on private Egyptian television channel Dream that the situation reflects an attempt by the government, and primarily Egypt's irrigation minister, Mohamed Bahaa El-Din, to disseminate inaccurate information about the negative impact the building of the dam would have.

“They have hypnotised Egyptian society, making the issue seem much smaller than its repercussions will be."    

Raslan called on Prime Minister Hisham Qandil to take urgent measures to contain the crisis, which he argued necessitates a trial to hold those accountable for the negligence in Egypt's national security.

Ethiopia said on Monday stated it will begin on Tuesday diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, as part of its project to build a new dam.

The under-construction Renaissance Dam has been a source of concern for the Egyptian government, amid sensitivities about any effect on the volume of water that will reach Egypt if the project is completed.

Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.

Egypt's irrigation ministry announced on Tuesday afternoon it is set to release a statement on the matter.

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