Ethiopia begins filling GERD dam

Water levels behind the  Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have begun to rise and the volumes flowing into Sudan were reported to have dropped yesterday,  just 24 hours after Addis Ababa, Cairo and Khartoum failed to reach an agreement over how the dam’s operations should be regulated in the event of future droughts.
Located on the Blue Nile 15km from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, the $4bn GERD is now 70% complete. When finished it will have an installed capacity of 6,450 megawatts – more than doubling Ethiopia’s existing capacity – and is the centrepiece of the country’s bid to establish itself as East Africa’s principal power exporter. But because the Blue Nile flows into the Nile from which Egypt’s 100 million inhabitants draw 90% of their water, its construction has raised serious concerns among Sudanese and Egyptians over its potential to trigger droughts and power shortages downstream.
On Tuesday, the UN co-ordinated urgent talks between the three countries after last week’s announcement from Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that his administration would be using July’s heavy rainfall to begin filling the dam. The talks failed, and the GERD continues to fill up.