CAIRO – 21 October 2019: Egypt has provided all possible solutions to end the disagreement with Ethiopia over the Renaissance dam, said Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti on Sunday at the second round of the Cairo Water Week Forum (CWW) 2019.
The Ethiopian stance has caused Egypt to face a stumble regarding finding a solution to the operation and management problem of the Ethiopian dam, despite Egypt’s recognition of Ethiopia’s right to pursuing development, he added.
Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its Nile water share after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011.
A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began in 2014. One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. However, Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem.
The minister explained that around 2 billion people in 22 developing countries find difficulty to access clean water, “The water issue is a societal issue that bears important dimensions.”
He continued that Egypt is a desert land and approximately 100 million citizen depend on the Nile water, stressing that the gap between water consumption and production has reached 90 percent.”
In his speech at the 5-day forum on Sunday, Prime Minister Madbouli said Egypt is facing a major challenge in reaching a fair agreement with Ethiopia. “The environmental and hydrological studies of the dam have not been carried out yet, and we hope that consultant firms finish them,” said Madbouli.
“It was agreed to take an unofficial path with an independent scientific group, which was formed by representatives of the three countries [Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan], but we did not see any significant progress,” the prime minister continued.
Madbouli highlighted the need for coordination in case any dam is built on the Nile, clarifying that Egypt uses Article 10 of the Declaration of Principles signed in 2015, per which an international mediator shall intervene in the negotiations.
On October 5, 2019, Cairo asked for an international mediator in the tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD); however, Addis Ababa voiced its rejection.
The 2019 round of the CWW comes under the theme “Responding to Water Scarcity”. The Forum’s sub-sessions tackle themes of Research and Innovation in facing water scarcity; non-conventional water resource use; Cooperation in Water Sector; and Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation, and Adaptation.
The first edition of the CWW convened in October 2018 under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to increase public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid a state of water shortage.