Sudan government has urged the United Nations Security Council to intervene in a dispute over Ethiopia’s newly built hydroelectric Nile dam, claiming that the window for Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan to reach an agreement is closing by the hour, reported Addis Standard.
There has been tension going on between the three countries over a deal on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a giant hydroelectric project which is being constructed near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan.
In a letter addressed to the UNSC, the Sudanese government warned that the lives of millions of people will be endangered if Ethiopia continues with its plan to fill the reservoir before a deal has been reached.
Last Friday, Ethiopia said it would to stick to its July schedule to begin the first stage filling of the GERD after latest talks failed to reach an accord on how the dam will be filled and operated. Egypt, which is almost entirely dependent on the Nile for its freshwater supplies, has already formally asked the Security Council to intervene in the matter.
Ethiopia’s unilateral action would “compromise the safety of Sudan’s Roseires Dam and thus subject millions of people living downstream to great risk,” Sudan’s water ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Notably, Egypt fears that the dam and its reservoir, with a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, will significantly reduce its water supply and wants to ensure a legally binding deal that would guarantee minimum flows and a mechanism for resolving disputes before the dam starts operating.
Sudan wants that the water released from the GERD dam should co-ordinate with water levels at its Roseires Dam, some 100km (62 miles) from the Blue Nile dam. Ethiopia, on the other hand, claims the project is indispensable for its development and insists downstream countries’ water supply will be unaffected.