Egypt said that it had lodged a complaint at the UN Security Council on Friday against Ethiopian plans to fill the disputed Nile dam’s reservoir for a third year without the consent of the nations that would be affected by it. 

Despite being the largest hydropower project in Africa, the multibillion-dollar Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile has been at the center of a dispute with Egypt and Sudan ever since construction began in 2011. 

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, Egypt “received a communication from the Ethiopian side on July 26 stating that Ethiopia would continue filling the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam during the current flood season” which prompted Egypt to register its objection and complete rejection of Ethiopia’s continuation of filling the Renaissance Dam unilaterally without a deal to the UN Security Council. 

The ministry stressed that Egypt maintains its “legitimate right… to take all necessary measures to ensure and protect its national security, including against any risks that Ethiopia’s unilateral measures may cause in the future.” 

According to Mohamed Mahmoud Mahran, a specialist in international river disputes and a member of the American Society of International Law, “if the UNSC sees a threat to international peace and security in connection with a conflict, it must intervene immediately to maintain security.” 

“The Renaissance Dam threatens the lives of over 150 million Sudanese and Egyptian citizens. If no agreement is reached and Ethiopia acts unilaterally, and if the UNSC doesn’t intervene, it could lead to unprecedented scenarios and spark a regional war.” 

Addis Ababa deems the Gerd as essential for the electrification and development of Africa’s second most populous country but Cairo and Khartoum fear it could threaten their access to vital Nile waters and have demanded a written agreement between the three countries on the dam’s filling and operation. 

Final output from the $4.2-billion dam is anticipated to exceed 5,000 megawatts, more than doubling Ethiopia’s current capacity. The first of the 13 turbines started producing electricity in February, and the process of filling the Gerd’s vast reservoir started in 2020, with Ethiopia announcing in July that year it had hit its target of 4.9 billion cubic metres.   

The reservoir’s total capacity is 74 billion cubic metres, and the target for 2021 was to add 13.5 billion, a target Ethiopia said it had met. 

 

 

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