An Egyptian recent scientific study warned of the dangers of the collapse of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan.
Researchers detected a slight slide at the site of the dam amid doubts about its safety.
The study, which was prepared by a research team comprising the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty, Dr. Hisham Al-Askari, Professor of Remote Sensing and Earth Systems Sciences at the University of Champagne in the United States of America, and Dr. Amr Fawzy in the Nile Protection Sector at the Ministry of Irrigation, along with 4 researchers at universities and international bodies.
About 109 vertical views of the dam were taken over the period from December 2016 to July 2021.
The authors used radar technology to image the location of the Ethiopian dam.
The time series resulting from the analysis clearly indicates “different-directional displacements in different sections of the concrete (main) dam as well as the dam (or auxiliary dam).
The analysis of the data at the site of the construction of the Renaissance Dam shows “an inconsistent decline in the outskirts of the main dam, especially the western side of it, where varying displacements ranging from 10 mm to 90 mm were recorded at the top of the dam.
The study confirmed that the filling of the Renaissance Dam is taking place at a rapid rate, without sufficient known analysis on the potential effects on the body of the structure.
The study added that the filling of the Renaissance Dam not only affects the hydrology of the Blue Nile Basin, water storage, and flow but also poses major risks in the event of a collapse, especially for 20 million citizens in Sudan, on the Nile Basin.
Dr. Hisham Al-Askari, Professor of Remote Sensing and Earth Systems Sciences in the United States, and the first researcher in the study said that there is an uneven vertical displacement in different sectors of the two dams (the main and auxiliary), which shows the presence of subsidence in the dam site, and thus the insecurity of the project.
Dr. Al-Askari refused to talk about the future of the Renaissance Dam negotiations – which is expected to resume soon – in light of the results of the study, saying that the Egyptian state is fully aware of the study and its results.
He said that there is a very excessive movement on the eastern and western sides of the Renaissance Dam, uneven (which is the axis of danger) and increased at the first filling, and expanded more with the second filling; So they stopped the second filling process, according to our estimation.
Al-Askari stressed that “the matter is dangerous”, and that the Renaissance Dam “is not completely safe”.
But he ruled out the implementation of the entire project, as planned, or the storage of 74 billion cubic meters and the arrival of water to the dam, as Ethiopia claims.
He explained that the study included: the concrete dam, with a length of two kilometers, and the accumulative dam with a length of 6 kilometers and that the volume of seismic activity or ground faults under this last dam is “very high”.
The study monitored ground movements in the site even before the water reached it, which will put pressure on the site.
Al-Askari expected that the storage process would cause “problems” when the water reached a certain limit, between 25 to 30 billion cubic meters.
He noted that the collapse of the Renaissance Dam would cause catastrophic repercussions on Sudan mainly, calling on Sudanese officials to play their role to protect Sudanese citizens.