Ethiopia Deducts 10 Billion CM of Egypt’s Water Share Through the Third Filling of the GERD


The countdown to the third filling of the GERD has started, it’s only ten days away from the start of the filling process. While Ethiopia is heading towards the third filling of the GERD, which is built on the Blue Nile River and threaten the two downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, however Cairo and Khartoum demand an obligatory legal agreement for the Dam filling and operation. Despite the Security Council presidential statement which was followed by a statement from the AU and its current president, Senegal, the GERD negotiations are held since April 2021. At the same time, Ethiopia keeps the construction and ramping over operations are going on in preparation for the third filling which planned to be during the flood season that begins next July.

Ethiopia keeps working on the elevating works of the middle lane of the GERD

An informed source said that the GERD witnessed the elevating of the middle lane. Also, the source added that the estimations estimate that the elevating reached 585 m above sea level. He also added that such elevating will provide Ethiopia with the privilege of deducting 10 billion CM, over the reserved quantities which are 6.5 billion CM. According to the source, it’s planned to initiate the actual storage of the GERD at the beginning of next July in conjunction with the Nile flood season, which is after ten days.

The Professor of Geology and Water Resources at Cairo University Abbas Sharaky revealed a two billion CM decrease in the GERD storage compared with the last summer, which is a result of opening one or both of the two floodgates in addition to the turbine’s water which works intermittently, while the second turbine still out of service till now. Sharaky added that the rainfall started to increase this month when about 2 billion CM of water are passing from the two floodgates. The current passing quantity of water is about 50 million CM per day. Sahraky also pointed to the continuity of constructions on both sides, especially the walls in front of the lake and the middle lane. He also explained that the targeted quantities to be stored are the completion of the first filling in 2020.

He also added that, through the third filling, Ethiopia aspires to store 10 billion CM, to complete the quantities that were supposed to be stored in the first filling of 2020, 18,5 billion CM. Sharaky confirmed that the lake has 6.5 billion CM after emptying 2 billion CM after they opened the two floodgates behind the Dam lake as a result of rainfall. The Egyptian expert indicated that Ethiopia is racing against time to elevate the GERD by pouring concrete on both sides of the dam and the middle corridor before heavy rains.

From his side, the former minister of Water Resources and Irrigation professor Mohamed Nasr Allam, criticized the Declaration of Principles signed by the Egyptian President and the Ethiopian side. He clarified that it was not a legally reliable agreement, suitable for litigation, or to prove any obligation, and it was not drafted well. Regarding the alternatives proposed by the Egyptian government from one time to another to overcome the water shortage and poverty that Egypt is experiencing now, Allam said: “there are no alternatives that could replace the Nile water shortage. The projects to be established to desalinate seawater or recycle agricultural wastewater will cost billions of dollars and won’t compensate the Nile water, besides, it depends on the Nile waters at all.”

From the Sudanese side, the former Irrigation Minister, Othma Altom, said that: “Sudan will be affected by the third filling process due to the lack of coordination related to operating the Roseires Dam and the projects irrigated by the Blue Nile River.” Altom added that Ethiopia should provide information, and the absence of coordination will negatively affect water generation from Roseires and Merowe Dams, especially with the degradation of thermal power generation in Sudan.

Despite the freezing of the three-part negotiations for a year, Cairo and Khartoum still adhere to reaching a binding agreement on the filling and operation of the Dam, but Ethiopia rejects this and confirms that it is moving forward with filling and operating the Dam. Sudan is concerned about the risks that would result from the absence of a three-part agreement before the third filing and its negative impact on the Roseires Dam which is a few kilometres away from the GERD. It’s a threat to the secure operation of the Sudanese dams.

Ahmed al-Moufti, the former member of the Sudanese negotiation delegate said that if Ethiopia completed the third filling it will own a water bomb. He added that: “it will be a great damage on the Sudanese water constructions if the third filling was completed.” Al-Moufti underestimates the feasibility of discussions of the AU to bring views closer together among Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, as he Said “such discussion won’t lead to any results. Ethiopia negotiates and imposes a status quo on the two downstream countries.”

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia are negotiating under the umbrella of the African Union on technical and legal matters related to the filling and operation of the GERD that Ethiopia is building on a major tributary of the Nile. Sudan is calling for changing the negotiation approach and expanding the intermediation umbrella to be four-part including the UN, EU, and USA alongside the AU, but Ethiopia rejected that proposal and stuck to the African mediation.

Khartoum also demands a change in the negotiation approach to expand the role of the AU experts to bring the views of the three countries closer. At the same time, Addis Ababa is going on with its Dam on the Nile Blue River and says that the project is vital for its economic growth, while Egypt is fearing the effects of the Dam on its annual water share which is 55.5 billion CM, while the Sudan Share is 18.5 Billion CM.