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Study Shows the Huge Significance of the Grand Renaissance Dam Project (GERDP) to downstream Egypt and Sudan

A study showed that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERDP) on the Blue Nile has significance benefit for Sudan and Egypt as per the article published by Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abbay on the EIPSA Communicating Article. According to the research findings based on the GERD technical design and quantitative analysis, the benefits of the dam to downstream countries can be broadly categorized as hydropower, flood control and water regulation, sedimentation management and increasing quality and quantity of water.

The research showed the imbalance of electric generation and coverage stating that “currently Egypt`s Electric coverage is 3 times of Sudan, 4.4 times of Ethiopia, 5.5 times of Kenyan, 12 times of Uganda and 7 times of Tanzania.” According to the author, Dr. Belachew, the construction of the GERD is therefore an opportunity to enhance the electric coverage in the region and narrow such gap as well as provide low cost, efficient and renewable energy not only to Ethiopia but also to the neighboring countries as far as Egypt and Yemen.

One of the features of the Nile Basin system is the fluctuation in water flow from year to year. The GERD will allow to have a constant flow of water across the whole year and avoid catastrophic flood or shortage of water from August to December that especially is a chronic problem to Sudan and Egypt as well. Therefore, “Once the GERDP is working with full capacity, the water flow in Blue Nile will be in between 3600 - 3800m3/s throughout the year” which is constant.

The construction of the dam will further reduce the transportation of huge sedimentation from the Ethiopian highlands to downstream states which are estimated to be between 157.2 and 207.2 Million Tons. According to the research findings the GERD will reduce the sediment by 86 percent. “Reduction of costs for dredging of canals could save about USD 50 million /year only for Sudan, not to speak of saving in turbine maintenance and replacement costs, ease of gate operation, etc” due to the construction of the dam. The research also strengthened the argument that the construction of the Dam in Ethiopia will increase water availability by eliminating downstream evaporation which is very high as compared to upstream Ethiopia and due to the narrow gorge where the dam is under construction that avoids massive evaporation.

The article conclude that the undergoing construction of the dam will be significant not only to Ethiopia but to the rest of East and North Africa. In his recommendation Dr Belachew stressed that Egypt should trust Ethiopia and Sudan regarding the dam and also should provide basic information in order to undertake the recommended environmental impact assessment on downstream states. Hence Dr. Belachew concludes that his research stating that the three countries should not waste time of arguing again and again on an established fact of the ongoing construction of the GERD rather on what mechanisms and how the dam should be filled. This should be based on agreed principles by the committee that will be established by the three riparian states, forecast of rainfall, evaporation, and so on should be taken in to account as well.

To read the full article, click here


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Article | by Dr. Radut