The Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Mohamed Abdel-Aty announced Saturday, that his country is ready to deal with any scenarios regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
He assured that the government will not allow a water crisis to occur.
“The government is moving in several political and legal directions regarding the Ethiopian dam,” Abdel-Aty said.
As the Ethiopian dam is large in size, there must be a binding agreement, data exchange, and cooperation from the Ethiopian side, he stressed – to ensure a win-all situation instead of unilateral action.
Ethiopia announced on Sunday the start of producing electricity for the first time from GERD, despite contentions from downstream nations Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated the partial commencing of power generation of GERD.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry slammed Ethiopia’s unilateral start of the operation of the Dam, calling it a violation of its commitments under the 2015 Declaration of Principles signed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
Negotiations over the GERD have officially stopped since April 2021, after Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia failed to reach an understanding before the start of the second filling of the dam, which Ethiopia implemented in July.
Cairo and Khartoum reject Ethiopia’s insistence on filling the dam before reaching a binding agreement on filling and operation.
Egypt, which relies considerably on freshwater from the Nile, has voiced fears that the GERD would negatively impact the country’s water supply.
Egypt has also insisted that measures be put into place to protect downstream countries in case of drought during the dam’s filling process.
Egypt and Sudan say they want a legally binding agreement, while Ethiopia says any pact should be advisory.
The two nations consider the dam a threat to their vital water supplies, while Ethiopia considers it essential for development and doubling its electricity production.
The downstream nations fear possible blows to water facilities, agricultural land, and overall availability of Nile water.
Negotiations over the dam between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan have stalled for years, with the three parties ultimately failing to reach any concrete agreement.
The disputed dam is the largest hydroelectric project in Africa, with a cost of more than four billion dollars. The construction of the dam began in 2011. It is considered to be one of Egypt’s most serious water issues.