Ethiopia Sparks Water Dispute with Egypt and Sudan as it Fills Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
Ethiopia’s latest announcement of the filling of its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile has reignited a water dispute with Egypt and Sudan. This development comes as the three countries had resumed negotiations on an agreement that would take into account the water needs of all parties involved.
Egypt and Sudan have expressed concerns over the dam’s filling, as they fear it will significantly reduce their share of Nile water. Both countries are urging Ethiopia to halt the filling until a mutual agreement is reached. Egypt, in particular, views the dam as a significant threat to its water security since it heavily relies on the Nile for 97% of its water needs, exacerbating its existing water scarcity issues.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, however, celebrates the successful completion of the dam’s fourth and final filling. He highlights the challenges and external pressures that were overcome during the dam’s construction. The Ethiopian government’s communications service also hails the GERD as a major achievement that will benefit future generations and contribute to the country’s development. The dam has a capacity to generate over 5,000 megawatts, doubling Ethiopia’s electricity production and aiming to increase access to electricity for its population.
Meanwhile, Egypt condemns Ethiopia’s filling of the dam as illegal and argues that it will impact ongoing negotiations. These discussions had been suspended in 2021 but have recently resumed. The Sudanese government has yet to comment on the issue, though its position on the dam has been unstable due to its ongoing civil war. Sudan is facing increased drought vulnerability due to climate change and is concerned about the potential impact of the GERD on its already fragile water situation.
The GERD has been a source of regional disagreement since its inception in 2011. Negotiations have aimed to consider the interests and concerns of all three countries involved. The United Nations has warned that Egypt could potentially experience water scarcity by 2025, while parts of Sudan, like Darfur, are already facing increased drought vulnerability due to climate change.
As tensions rise over the GERD, it remains to be seen how the involved parties will reconcile their differing perspectives to find a solution that ensures equitable access to Nile water while addressing their individual water needs.