Egypt, Sudan Agree to Six-Month Study of Ethiopia Hydropower Dam

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed to
complete studies within six months on the impact of an Ethiopian
hydropower dam on the main tributary of the Nile river after
Egypt raised concern about water shortages.

A committee of four experts from each nation will
investigate the hydrological, social and environmental effects
of the $4.2 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s
Foreign Ministry said on its website today. International
consultants will implement the findings, it said. Foreign
experts will help settle any disputes. The dam is scheduled to
be finished in 2017.

Egypt, which relies on the world’s longest river for almost
all its water, has said that it will suffer shortages while the
dam’s reservoir is filled and during operation of a 6,000-megawatt power station. Ethiopia says the project will not
significantly harm Sudan or Egypt and is based on a principle of
“equitable utilization” of the Nile basin.

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A panel of specialists, including four international
experts, concluded last year that the additional studies were
needed to assess the dam’s impact on the Nile’s flow and the
region. Ethiopia and other upstream African nations say that
Egypt’s historic legal claims to a majority of the river’s flow
are invalid and have harmed their development.

Last year’s panel also recommended measures to improve the
dam’s stability. Ethiopian engineers informed Egyptian
counterparts of updates to its design at a two-day meeting in
Khartoum, Sudan, that finished yesterday, the Ethiopian ministry
said. The discussions “enhanced confidence” between the three
nations and there was no reason for Ethiopia to halt
construction of the dam, Water, Energy and Irrigation Minister
Alemayehu Tegenu said in the statement.

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Ethiopia’s government says it’s completed 35 percent of the
project that was officially launched in April 2011 and is
scheduled for completion in mid-2017.

To contact the reporter on this story:
William Davison in Addis Ababa at
wdavison3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Paul Richardson at
pmrichardson@bloomberg.net
Andres R. Martinez, Ben Holland

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