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Sudan’s engineers work to mitigate effect on Nile system when Ethiopia fills GERD

March 9 - 2021 KHARTOUM
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (researchgate.net)
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (researchgate.net)

The Ministry of Irrigation in Sudan says that engineers are now working to anticipate all possible scenarios resulting from the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to mitigate the expected negative effects when the dam begins to fill in June. Work is being done specially to improve the systems of emptying and filling of the reservoirs of El Roussin and Jebel Alya.

Engineer Dabet Abdelrahman says this is to assist farmers, herders, drinking water supplies, irrigation projects, and all water users in the Nile areas in general.

He said the volume of water from the Blue Nile (which flows from the Ethiopian highlands to its confluence with the White Nile at Khartoum) is likely to decrease from April to the end of September, so that water levels in this sector will be reduced in general.

The engineer added that the White Nile sector will also be affected by the filling of the Renaissance Dam in relation to the modification of the operating systems of the Jebel Alya reservoir. The main Nile stream of Khartoum will be exposed to the same effects, the volume of water will be reduced, the levels will decrease, and the area of cultivated pastures will be reduced.

Preparation

Multiple meetings over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the tense relationship between Khartoum and Addis Ababa took place in February, in preparation for the expected filling of the dam in July by Ethiopia. The GERD committee, headed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, discussed the necessary precautions as Ethiopia begins filling the dam, as it did last year.

During the meeting, Hamdok warned that Ethiopia will start the second filling of the GERD next July regardless of any agreement. Various national agencies and institutions must prepare for the negative effects on Sudan’s irrigation systems, electricity networks, and drinking water along the Blue Nile and Nile rivers up to Atbara, if the dam is filled.


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