FILE PHOTO: Water flows from the Grand Renaissance Dam of Ethiopia as it undergoes construction work on the Nile River in Guba Verde, Benichangul Gumuz Region, Ethiopia on September 26, 2019. The picture was taken on September 26, 2019. REUTERS / Tiksa Negeri / File Photo
CAIRO / KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Egypt and Sudan criticized Ethiopia, which asked the giant project to unilaterally fill its Blue Nile dam in a new round of negotiations that began on Monday to regulate the flow of water.
Both Sudan and Egypt fear that the $ 4 billion hydroelectric dam could lead to water scarcity in their own countries. The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile River, from which Egypt’s 100 million people receive 90% of its fresh water.
Nearly a decade of torture negotiations failed to regulate how Ethiopia would replenish the reservoir and operate the dam, protecting Egypt’s scarce water supply.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is being built on the Blue Ethile, about 15 km (9 mi) from the border with Sudan, which provides piles of water in the Nile River after meeting the White Nile in Sudan.
Last week, Ethiopia, which says it needed a dam to make electricity for its people, said it had already achieved its first-year goal to fill the reservoir, a rainy season. for.
Egypt’s irrigation ministry said in a statement that Egypt and Sudan expressed concern about “unilateral filling”, adding that “cast a shadow over the meeting and about the feasibility of the current course of negotiations and reaching a fair settlement” Raised many questions. ”
Sudan said Ethiopia’s action was “a damaging and disturbing precedent during cooperation between countries related to irrigation”, according to a statement from its irrigation ministry.
There was no immediate word from Ethiopia. Between the issues at stake in the talks being organized by the African Union, how the dam will operate during the “dry years” of low rainfall, and whether the agreement and its mechanisms need to be legally binding to resolve disputes.
Reporting by Ulf Lashing, Naira Abdullah and Khalid Abdelaziz; Editing by Kevin Liffey