Ethiopia has announced the completion of its fourth and final filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile, intensifying a longstanding water dispute with downstream nations Egypt and Sudan. Egypt condemns Ethiopia’s move as “illegal.”
Aljazeera reported that, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the successful filling, highlighting the challenges and external pressures faced during the dam’s construction. The GERD, valued at $4.2 billion, poses concerns for Egypt and Sudan, who fear it will significantly reduce their share of Nile water.
Negotiations on an agreement that addresses the water needs of all three countries had recently resumed after a lengthy hiatus. Egypt and Sudan had urged Ethiopia to halt the filling until an agreement was reached.
At full capacity, the GERD, one of Africa’s largest dams at 1.8 kilometers long and 145 meters high, could generate over 5,000 megawatts of electricity, doubling Ethiopia’s current production. Egypt relies on the Nile for 97 percent of its water needs and views the dam as an existential threat.
Ethiopia contends that the GERD will not diminish downstream water volume. The United Nations warns of a water crisis for Egypt by 2025, exacerbated by climate change.