Ethiopia completes third filling of Blue Nile mega-dam

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Ethiopia

Ethiopia has successfully completed the third phase of filling the reservoir of its mega-dam on the Blue Nile, despite protests from Sudan and Egypt, which border the Nile downstream.

"What you see behind me is the third filling completed," Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday (August 12) announced in a televised speech from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), located in the north-west of the country, and presented as the largest in Africa.

According to the PM, the height of water in the reservoir has now reached 600m, 25m higher than at the end of the 2nd phase of filling at the same time last year.

"The Nile is a gift that God has given us for Ethiopians to use," continued Mr. Abiy, implicitly responding to criticism from Sudan and Egypt. "Those who do not assume the responsibilities entrusted to them are open to criticism.

Sudan and Egypt have repeatedly asked Ethiopia to stop filling the Gerd, pending the conclusion of a tripartite agreement on this subject and on the modalities of operation of the dam.

Both countries, which are tributaries of the Nile, claim that this mega-dam, with a planned capacity of more than 5,000 megawatts (MW) and a holding capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, will affect their water supply.

At the end of July, Egypt had protested to the UN Security Council against the announced intention of Ethiopia to continue "unilaterally" during the current rainy season. The filling of the reservoir started in July 2020, despite the lack of agreement between the three countries concerned by the subject.

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