Sudan’s Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry has disclosed a decline in the water levels of Nile River, which hints closure of the gates of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) when Ethiopia reportedly announced start of filling the dam.
“Measuring the Blue Nile levels by the concerned authorities showed a decline in the water levels equivalent to 90 million cubic meters per day, which confirms the closure of the gates of the dam,” said the ministry statement released on Wednesday. The ministry further reiterated Sudan’s rejection to any unilateral measures by any party relating to the GERD issue.
“The ministry renews its rejection to any unilateral measures by any party, particularly with the continued efforts … to reach a consensus deal among the three countries on the outstanding issues of difference which can be overcome if there is political will,” the statement said.
It reiterated that the Sudan’s concerned authorities are following up the development related to the GERD in a manner that secures Sudan’s national interests.
Earlier on Wednesday, Egypt sought an official clarification from Ethiopia if it had started filling its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) constructed on their shared Nile River as stated in some media reports, the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Egypt has requested an urgent official clarification from the Ethiopian government regarding the truth of this matter,” spokesman of Egyptian Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez pointed out.
Ethiopia had recently said it would soon start filling the reservoir, while Egypt repeatedly warned against any unilateral action without a prior tripartite agreement.
On Monday, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia ended the recent round of tripartite talks on the GERD without reaching agreement on the outstanding issue of filling of the dam.
Meanwhile, the three countries have sent separate reports to the African Union which is expected to call for a mini-summit next week to issue a decision regarding the Ethiopian dam.
Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources.
The 4-billion-dollar GERD is expected to produce over 6,000 megawatts of electricity and become Africa’s largest hydropower dam upon completion. Filling the reservoir, whose total capacity is 74 billion cubic meters, may take several years.
Egypt seeks to prolong the period of the filling process to avoid the possible impacts of water shortage, which has been a main point of their talks.