Ethiopia Has Started Filling A Reservoir At A Hydroelectric Power Station, Despite Protests From Sudan And Egypt
The reservoir formed by the giant dam of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance hydroelectric power station on the Nile is already filling up, Ethiopian authorities say.
"The construction of the dam and filling with water is carried out simultaneously. We should not wait for the completion of construction to start filling the reservoir," Seleshi Bekele, the Minister of water resources, irrigation, and energy of Ethiopia said on television.
According to him, the water level in the reservoir rose from 525 m to 560 m. This may also be due to the beginning of the rainy season in Ethiopia, which is why further along the Nile does not feel any sharp changes.
The Minister's statements came after Addis Ababa failed to reach an agreement on filling the reservoir with Sudan and Egypt, located downstream of the Nile.
When the dam is completed and the reservoir is filled, Ethiopia intends to become one of Africa's major energy hubs. It is expected that after the completion of the Nile hydroelectric power station, electricity production in Ethiopia will double, reaching 6,400 MW.
Egypt is concerned that the hydroelectric power plant will reduce the water resources of the Nile, on which 100 million people in Egypt depend. Cairo also insists that the new Ethiopian reservoir be filled more slowly than planned so that the scale of the reduction of the country's water resources is less.
Earlier this week, representatives of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan failed to reach an agreement in the next round of talks to resolve the situation around the dam.
The talks were mediated by the African Union.
"Excessive and persistent demands from Egypt and Sudan have prevented an agreement from being reached in this round of negotiations," the Ethiopian Ministry of water, irrigation, and energy said.
"The desired outcome is always to reach an agreement, which is what we are trying to achieve," Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Egyptian television.
The information Minister of Sudan, Faisal Saleh also said that the situation should be resolved through negotiations and that it is necessary to find a just solution that would limit the negative impact from the construction of the dam on countries downstream of the Nile.
Initially, the signing of the agreement was planned for February in Washington, but representatives of Ethiopia did not arrive at the meeting then.
In January of this year, Addis Ababa announced that it will start filling the reservoir at the hydroelectric power station in July-with the beginning of the rainy season.