VENTURES AFRICA – A water expert from the AUC University in Cairo has confirmed that Ethiopia’s hydroelectric dam will not hurt Egypt’s share of the Nile waters. According to the Egypt-based water resource management specialist Richard Tutwiler, the Ethiopian dam will never stop the flow of water downstream to Egypt.
“It is unlikely that Ethiopia will severely choke or stop the flow of water. Ethiopia needs the electricity…and hydroelectric dams don’t work unless you let the water through” said Mr. Tutwiler.
The Sudanese government has also supported the Ethiopian dam because “the dam would have minimal impact on its (Sudan’s) water allotment…and the mega-project’s other benefits became clear.”
Water experts have confirmed that the dam is expected to improve flood control, expand downstream irrigation capacity and, crucially, allow Ethiopia to export surplus electricity to power-hungry Sudan via a cross-border link. Some studies indicate that properly managed hydroelectric dams in Ethiopia could mitigate damaging floods and increase Egypt’s overall water share. Storing water in the cooler climes of Ethiopia would ensure far less water is lost to evaporation than in the desert behind the Aswan High Dam in Egypt.
Despite these assurances from the international community and water experts, some Egyptian warmongers and politicians have unnecessarily threatened Ethiopia and other upstream African countries. Some Egyptian generals have been seen undercover in southern Somalia and the Ogaden, arming rebels and agitating more anti-Ethiopia sentiment among the public. Analysts say that Egyptian military leaders want to distract the pro-democracy movement in Egypt from domestic problems by diverting their attention to a non-existent external threat.
Some Egyptian politicians also claimed that Egypt deserves to eternally keep over 90 percent of the Nile even though it contributes less than 1 percent to the Nile. They cite outdated colonial agreements from 1959 signed between Egypt and Britain, which excluded eight out of ten Nile African countries. The Mubarak Cairo regime also took advantage of the civil war in Ethiopia to sign vague agreements in 1993. However, for the first time in history, the majority of Nile basin African countries signed in 2010 the binding international treaty, the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), for the fair and equitable utilization of the Nile River among all countries.
Egypt ignored the 11 years of negotiations that led toward the CFA treaty, which was adopted by all other Nile African countries. Despite threats from Egypt, Ethiopian government has continued the dam construction. Analysts say that Ethiopia’s growing population need to utilize the Nile river since it cannot depend on erratic rains to produce energy or to feed its people who have already suffered numerous famines over the last few decades.