Monday, September 26, 2016

Technical studies finally to go ahead on Ethiopia’s controversial Nile dam

Rendering of the GERD by International Rivers (

22 September 2016 | By GCR Staff0 Comments

Officials from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia signed contracts for technical studies on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) this week in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

The three states have now agreed that French consultants BRL and Artelia will carry out the studies on GERD’s impact on the flow of the Nile, while the British construction law firm Corbett & Co will overlook the legal affairs of the process, reports online Egyptian news site, Aswat Masriya.
Egypt’s Irrigation Minister, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, called the ceremony “historic”, Aswat Masriya reported, citing the Middle East News Agency.
In December 2015 the three groups signed the “Khartoum Document” outlining a mechanism for resolving GERD related issues, and set a time frame of eight months to a year to complete the technical studies.
The trio are to split the costs of the studies equally among them, according to the Ethiopian foreign ministry.
The dam, already half built by Italian contractor Salini Impregilo, is the most important project in Ethiopia. The GERD hydroelectric power plant will have an installed capacity of 6,000 MW – more than double Ethiopia’s current generating capacity – and is central to the government’s plan to be a net power exporter to the electricity-starved continent.
Egypt, dependent on the Nile for water, is concerned about how the dam will affect the river’s flow.
The technical study itself has proved controversial.
It stalled last year after the Dutch research institute Deltares withdrew, stating that the conditions imposed by the three countries and BRL on how the study should be done “did not provide sufficient guarantee for Deltares that an independent high-quality study could be carried out”.
Image: Rendering of the GERD by International Rivers, which takes a critical view of the project (
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia sign contracts on GERD Dam impact studies -

Technical teams of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on Monday have Initialed the additional studies agreement of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The final signing ceremony will take place in Khartoum on Tuesday.
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A man walks over a bridge by the construction of Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, June 28, 2013 (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
Last year, Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia signed a declaration of principles on the dam project that tacitly approves the dam construction but calls for technical studies aimed at safeguarding the water quotas of the three riparian states.
On September 22, 2014, a tripartite committee from the three countries proposed the conduction of two additional studies on the dam project, the first one on the effect of the dam on the water quota of Sudan and Egypt and the second one to examine the dam’s ecological, economic and social impacts of the dam on Sudan and Egypt.
The French engineering consultancy Artelia and BRL groups have been selected to undertake the dam impact studies. The U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co was selected to manage the legal affairs of the tripartite committee.
In a press statement after the initial signing, the head of the Sudanese technical team, Saif al-Din Hamad said there are no differences between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt on the additional studies items.
“There are no differences between the consultancy and the legal offices on the final contract of the technical studies and the signing was delayed to enable the ministers of water resources in the three countries to attend the ceremony,” he pointed.
On his part, the head of the Egyptian Technical part, Ahmed Baha, said that all the contracting documents will be signed by the heads of the technical committees of the three countries stressing that the observations of all the counties have been taken into account.
“The final contract with the consultancy offices will take place on Tuesday in the presences of ministers of water resources in the three countries and the representatives of the consultancy offices,” said Baha pointing that the representatives of the French Artelia and BRL groups and U.K.-based law firm Corbett & Co are on their way to Khartoum to attend the final contracts signing ceremony.
Earlier in September, the meeting of the tripartite technical committee was delayed due to differences between Artelia and BRL and the legal consultant Corbett & Co.
The consultancy office will study the environmental and ecological, social and economical effects of the dam.
The multi-billion dollar dam is being constructed on the Blue Nile, about 20 kilometers 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.
Egypt is concerned that the dam could reduce its quota of 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile water, while the Ethiopian side maintains that the dam is primarily built to produce electricity and will not harm Sudan and Egypt.
Last May, Ethiopia’s Minister of Information and Communication Getachew Reda said the GERD is almost 70% complete.