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Ethiopian dam's ecological and human fallout could echo Aral Sea disaster

Published: Mar 7, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News
Africa's fourth-largest lake could drop by 20 metres, causing an ecological and human disaster to rival the shrinking of the Aral Sea in central Asia, if Ethiopia goes ahead with massive irrigation projects linked to a giant dam, according to a university paper.

Lake Turkana, located almost entirely in Kenya but fed by the river Omo, which rises in Ethiopia, will be severely impacted by the 243 metre-high Gibe III dam, which is due to be completed this year, says the study, published by the University of Oxford's African Studies Centre. It suggests water levels could drop by half, devastating the lake's fisheries and affecting the livelihoods of 170,000 agro-pastoralists.

"Ultimately, the 6,400 sq km lake could reduce to two small lakes. The picture that emerges from these predictions bears a striking resemblance to the recent disastrous history of the Aral Sea, which was once the world's fourth-largest inland water body," said Sean Avery, a Nairobi-based hydrologist who studied the impact of the dam project for the African Development Bank.

The Aral Sea, which is shared between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, lost nearly 75% of its water in 30 years when vast amounts were abstracted by Soviet farmers from its feeder rivers to grow cotton. The result has been the collapse of the fishing industry, ill-health, climate change across the region, and severe dust storms.

Egypt seeks Saudi help on Ethiopia water dispute

Published: Mar 7, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics
Egypt seeks Saudi help on Ethiopia water dispute

CAIRO — Egypt is considering preparing a formal request for Gulf mediation under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, in order to back Cairo’s stance vis-à-vis the ongoing conflict with Ethiopia about the Renaissance Dam. The mediation request comes as part of a basket of escalatory measures adopted by Egypt in January, following the breakdown of technical negotiations among the Egyptian, Sudanese and Ethiopian water resources ministers.

Speaking to Al-Monitor, an Egyptian government official said, “A detailed report is currently being prepared to examine and explain Egyptian concerns relating to the building of the dam, in the absence of a clear agreement with Ethiopia about it. The final draft of the report, which explains the concerns over the repercussions the construction of the dam will have on Egypt and Sudan, will be sent to the International Panel of Experts.”

The official, who has close ties to Egyptian decision-making circles, added, “Egypt will ask Ethiopia, through the mediation, to sign a binding agreement with Egypt stating the dam’s operational specifications, its stored water capacity, and the amount of water that will be regularly released in a manner that does not negatively affect Egypt’s share of that water.”

This convergence of views between Egypt and the Gulf countries — except for Qatar — began after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi by the army on July 3, 2013. While the Gulf leaders expressed their satisfaction toward the change in the political scene of Egypt after the fall of the Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates rushed to offer financial aid packages to the Egyptian government, amounting to $10.7 billion in the span of only six months.

Protests against Ethiopian power project not fair

Published: Mar 4, 2014 by Babu2 Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics

In the next couple of decades, the most tradeable item is going to be electricity.

Those countries that have a deficit will have to buy from those who have a surplus. Therefore, I find it unfair to often read of the complaints that Ethiopia is wrong to build the Renaissance dams.

This is acountry with a huge population. In order to sustain an acceptable economic growth rate, Ethiopia must have enough power.

The protestors should instead think positive. For example, Egypt can also buy power from Ethiopia and make savings. It is also more efficient to cooperate than complain about such a progressive project.

The other issue is that such projects only come once a lifetime. The Americans did not think twice before they built the Hoover Dam.

Tanzania makes its stand clear on Nile

Published: Mar 3, 2014 by Babu2 Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - The government wants the Nile waters to shared by all countries it passes through.

The affirmation was made last week by President Jakaya Kikwete when having talks in Dar es Salaam with Egyptian Envoy to the president, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy who had been sent by Egyptian Interim President Adly Mansour to present a message to President Kikwete on strengthening various matters of bilateral relations between the two countries.

After their talks, President Kikwete commented on the use of Nile waters stressing the position of Tanzania that it was the right of every country where the river flows through to use that water for its development.

“All  countries where the river flows , in one way or another, have the same rights to use the river water for their  country’s development,” this is Tanzania ‘s position, said President Kikwete, adding that he believes in fair use of water in all countries where the river flows.

Previously Egyptian Foreign minister, Mr. Fahmy had told President Kikwete about the importance of the Nile river in Egypt, stressing that his country, Egypt, gets rains three days only on average per year.

“All the water we use comes from the Nile river.  So, you can understand the importance of the river for fairness and prosperity of our country,” he noted. Egypt depends on the Nile for almost 95% of its water. 

GERD has no Negative Impact for Egypt

Published: Feb 28, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News
We Will Ensure Egyptian and the International Community that GERD doesn’t have any Negative Impact: Dina Mufti

In his press conference, Ethiopian foreign ministry’s spokesman Dina Mufti said that Ethiopia has begun a diplomatic campaign to ensure the Egyptian public and the international community that the dam’s construction doesn’t have any negative impact on the Nile’s lower basin countries.

He said that Egypt’s claim based on invalid old agreements that doesn’t include the upper basin countries is unacceptable.

“Egypt’s idea to claim the whole right on the river of 10 countries for herself alone is outdated in the 21st century and Ethiopia is ready to embark on applying the recommendations of the international panel of experts but Egypt has failed the discussions” Dina said.

It is also indicated that the dam’s construction is going unhindered with full passionate support of the Ethiopians.

Girum Tebeje of DireTube

Ethiopia PM warns Egypt against taking dam file to UNSC-UPDATED

Published: Feb 13, 2014 by bini Filed under: Ethiopian News Politics
Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have soured over Ethiopia's plans to build its Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's main source of water.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Wednesday that Egypt would be on the losing side if it referred the issue of Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

"We're ready for this and will win politically," Desalegntold local reporters on Wednesday.

He went on to describe as "useless" Egyptian plans to take the Ethiopian dam file to the UNSC.

The Ethiopian prime minister added that work on the dam was proceeding on schedule despite stalled negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, which Desalegn attributed to Egyptian "intransigence."

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have soured over Ethiopia's plans to build its Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, which represents Egypt's main source of water.

The controversial project has raised alarm bells in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, regarding its traditional share of Nile water.

Water distribution among Nile basin states has long been based on a colonial-era agreement granting Egypt and Sudan the lion's share of the river's water.

Ethiopia, for its part,says it must build a series of dams in order to generate electricity, both for local consumption and export.

Addis Ababainsists the new dam can benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, which will be invited to purchase electricity thusgenerated.

Local Egyptian media recently quoted Irrigation Ministry spokesman Khalid Wasif as saying that Egypt would take its complaints against the Ethiopian dam project to the international level.
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