Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Here's All on GERD, Future Prospects

Wed 15 Jul 2020 | 09:52 PM
Yassmine Elsayed

Latest reports from Ethiopia over filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have heightened tensions with Egypt and Sudan, following years of negotiations, frequently stalled because of Ethiopian stances, which seemingly have all aimed at buying time.

Egypt has warned that GERD, if filled with water from the Blue Nile, will mean that 150 million people in Egypt and Sudan face a dire future. To Egypt, the $4.6 billion hydroelectric dam, the largest in Africa and whose reservoir alone is the size of Greater London, imposes an existential threat to its water security and welfare.

Egypt has implored the UN Security Council to intervene with the proviso that a lack of intervention could lead to a conflict.

This report  sheds the light over the Ethiopian project which Addis Ababa aspires to be a breakthrough in energy production.

The Ethiopian project, which is located on the Blue Nile, is near the northwest border of Ethiopia and Sudan. Upon completion, the dam is expected to affect the countries downstream on the Nile River (Sudan and Egypt) and to the South on the White Nile (Uganda, South Sudan etc.).

The project was started in 2011 and has cost approximately $6.4 billion. It has the capacity to generate 6,000 MW/h and have an expected power generation of 16,000 GW per year. The GERD is projected to improve the economy of Ethiopia due to providing a more steady river flow throughout the year.

This dam will act as a reservoir, and a hydroelectric power plant, which simply generates electricity by having the water turn turbines in the dam as it passes through it and isn't intended for agricultural purposes.

The construction of this dam has been one of the most controversial issues in northern Africa, because of the potential negative effects it could have on water flow to other countries whose populations also live in the Nile Basin and largely depend on its water.

Fears are mostly about the flow of the Nile River and potential drop in its level as well as loss in power production.

The Nile River Basin consists of fertile land around the Blue Nile, the White Nile and Nile River and spreads out over 11 countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The area contains around 160 million people who all depend on the rivers resources.

Because of the rising populations, the demand for water is increasing from the countries that lie within in the Nile River Basin. In 2037, the countries in the Nile Basin will have a combined population of around 726 million.

Egypt, Sudan, and Uganda all have over 75% of their population in the Nile Basin.

According to analysts, Sudan and Egypt stand to potentially lose the most from the construction of this dam, because they receive very little annual precipitation and have have evaporation rates.