GERD Opens Door for Cooperation with Downstream Countries: Expert

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Addis  Ababa August 22/2022 /ENA/The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will provide a huge benefit to Sudan and Egypt with no significant impact on anyone of the nations, Prominent Water Resource Management Consultant, Fekahmed Negash said.

Speaking to ENA, Fekahmed stated that the GERD will create an opportunity to enhance regional cooperation as it is beneficial to all.  

‘‘ If Khartoum can free itself from the shackles of the 1929 and 1959 colonial and post-colonial era treaties, it will become the most important beneficiary of the GERD as it can have an opportunity to irrigate its vast suitable land by the water regulated by the GERD.’’

According to him, Sudan still remains the second most important beneficiary of the GERD without going into legal ramifications.

Sudan boasts of having more than 20 million hectares of land suitable for irrigation, which can consume twice as much water as available in the Nile Basin.

Currently, annual evaporative loss in the two countries is in the magnitude of 15 – 23 billion Cubic Meters depending upon various factors, the consultant said.

Building dams in deep gorges of the Ethiopian highlands where evaporation loss is minimal could save billions of cubic meters of water, in addition to increasing storage opportunities for Egypt and Sudan, he explained.

“The water saved from evaporation from the dams in Egypt and Sudan is by far higher than the near future water demand of Ethiopia for all purposes and hence contributes to additional flow in the basin.” 

If Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt agree to genuinely work in cooperation, there are ample opportunities to increase the magnitude and baskets of benefits, the consultant added.

In particular, if Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt agree to coordinate their infrastructure during operations, the GERD can partly play the role of joint infrastructure which is considered as the highest form of cooperation in transboundary water management, he elaborated.

Fekahmed further stated that most countries in the region have a power shortage, which remains a very important limiting factor in their development ambitions.

In this regard, the GERD will bridge this gap in the form of power trade among the countries of the region, he said, adding this can also enhance cooperation.

According to him, upstream countries are anxiously waiting for the successful completion of the GERD to get lessons and start their own projects.

Ethiopia can provide the necessary support to other countries in this respect, he said, adding this offer by Ethiopia can also enhance cooperation in the region.

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