Sunday, 29 May 2016 13:55

Ethiopian Renaissance dam almost 70% complete : minister

Ethiopia’s Minister of Information and Communication Getachew Reda said the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is almost 70% complete.

an interview with the Saudi-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper Friday, Reda said that 50 percent of construction work and most civil engineering projects were complete.

“When turbines are installed, 70 percent of the project will be complete” he added

Commenting on Egyptian reports that Ethiopia seeks to buy time until the consultancy firms complete the impact studies, Reda said the work of the firms has nothing to do with the construction of the dam but to see whether it harms interests of the Nile basin partners or not.

“The dam will not harm the interests of Sudan and Egypt," he said, stressing that the people of all three Nile basin countries would benefit from it.

“But if some [parties] believe that they will be harmed by it, then this is not Ethiopia’s problem,” he added.

The Ethiopian minister underscored that his country doesn’t want to buy time, saying their side didn’t promise to stop construction work pending the completion of technical studies.

Last year, the three countries had selected two French and Dutch consultancy firms to conduct technical studies on the impact of the dam on the downstream countries – Sudan and Egypt.

Reda stressed that Sudan had earlier said the dam would serve its interest and “we say the dam wouldn’t harm the interests of Sudan and Egypt” he added

“The dam became a reality that couldn’t be changed but the peoples of the three nations would benefit from it” Reda pointed out

Commenting on whether the low water levels of the Blue Nile this year had resulted from the building of the dam or not, the minister said the river water is running normally, pointing that his country didn’t do anything to divert the waters.

“It would be impossible for us to stop the water flow because this is against nature. The [Blue Nile’s] poor water revenue for this year was due to the drought that hit the region” he said

The Ethiopian minister said the water levels would return to normal once the environmental conditions were improved.

The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometres from the Sudanese border, and has a capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, and is expected to generate electrical power of up to 6,000 megawatts.