Egypt could be harmed by Ethiopian dam: Irrigation ministry

Ahram Online, MENA, Wednesday 12 Jun 2013

Egyptian irrigation ministry official warns that the dam could collapse through faulty design

Sherif Mohamady, representative of Egypt's irrigation minister, stated that scientific studies have proven that there may be problems in the future for Egypt if the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, currently under construction on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, be completed.

"This is because there are huge problems in its design, since the Ethiopians' technical approach is very weak," he said on Wednesday, according to state news agency MENA, warning that one consequence could be the collapse of the dam.

Egypt has been locked in a dispute with Ethiopia in recent weeks over the latter’s construction of a dam on the Blue Nile to generate electricity. Many Egyptian politicians have cited concerns that the new dam could interfere with the volume of Nile water that reaches Egypt.

Mohamady also said that Egypt had not received a report on the dam’s safety measures..

"In case of its collapse, there will be lots of negative consequences for both Egypt and Sudan," the minister’s representative added at a symposium organised by the Egyptian-European Council to discuss the dam deadlock.

Political analyst and former regime figure Mostafa El-Fiki said that he believed that Egypt should “go to the Ethiopians and agree on a win-win situation for building the Ethiopian renaissance dam because international law will not back us."

"This is because the international community supports Ethiopia’s stance," he added. "Egypt should let go of its condescending policies in dealing with Africans, especially Ethiopians, and try to contain the situation," El-Fiki said.

Egyptian businessman Mohamed Abu El-Enein, the head of the Egyptian-European Council, said there was a danger that the international community would support Ethiopia and not Egypt.

“At the time of the Nile agreement in 1959, Egypt’s population was 20 million, and our share was 55.5 billion cubic metres of water. Today, we are around 90 million and our share has not changed,” he added.

Former prime minister Ali Lotfi commented that “Egyptians do not rationalise water consumption, whether on the level of irrigation or individual usage.”

Earlier on Monday, a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson refused to confirm whether the UK was ready to mediate between Egypt and Ethiopia on the building of the controversial dam.

Short link: