Irrigation minister flies to Addis Ababa for discussions over Nile dam

Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil left Sunday for Addis Ababa for a visit that will last for few days. He will meet with the water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia.

The meetings will tackle the future of water resources in the three countries. Arrangements will be made for contracting four international experts, chosen by a committee formed by the three governments to evaluate the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam — formerly known as the Grand Millennium Nile Dam — on the Blue Nile.

Qandil said the Ethiopian side will provide technical studies and information about the dam when the contracts are signed so that the committee can start work.

The committee’s work will last around six months, the minister said. It aims to reach a comprehensive evaluation of the procedures the Ethiopian government must undertake to face the negative impacts of the dam.

In April, Ethiopia began work for the construction of the Nile dam, which triggered Egyptian fears that the dam would affect Egypt’s historical share of Nile water.

Egypt, according to a treaty signed with Sudan under the British occupation, is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic meters a year Nile’s flow of around 84 billion cubic meters. According to the treaty, any country wishing to establish any agrarian project must first seek Egypt’s approval.

But Nile Basin countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, signed an agreement in Entebbe in May 2010 that sought a fair redistribution of water shares. This has rattled Egypt and Sudan, upstream countries that enjoy the lion’s share of river water, and brought further tensions between Nile River countries.

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