Monday, September 01, 2014

Egypt minister downplays effects of Ethiopia dam

(Sep 01, 2014, (CAIRO))--Egyptian Irrigation Minister Hossam al-Moghazi downplayed Friday the negative effects on Egypt’s water supply of the ongoing construction of Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam, saying the first phase of construction would not cause any tangible harm to Egypt.

“The results of additional studies will appear in March 2015, six months before construction of the first phase of the dam is complete,” Moghazi told Anadolu Agency. He added that the first phase of the multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam would feature a water storage capacity of 14 billion cubic meters, which would not cause any “tangible” harm to Egypt. “This [continued construction of the dam] does not worry us,” Moghazi said.

Relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa soured last year over Ethiopia’s construction of the $6.4-billion hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile. The project raised alarm bells in Egypt, which relies on the river for almost all of its water needs and feared its historical supply of Nile water would be reduced.

Last year, an international panel of experts recommended that two studies be conducted: a hydrological simulation model and an environmental, social and economic impact assessment. The two countries agreed to resume tripartite talks over the dam – along with fellow riparian state Sudan – after Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met in Equatorial Guinea in June.  Read more from The Daily Star Lebanon » 

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