Nile recedes in Sudan as Ethiopia begins filling controversial mega-dam project

Nile recedes in Sudan as Ethiopia begins filling controversial mega-dam project
2 min read
20 July, 2020
Sudanese authorities said the water in the River Nile is starting to recede.
Sudan has complained about the effects of the dam [Getty]

Sudanese authorities on Sunday said on that water in the River Nile is starting to recede as Ethiopia begins to fill its controversial mega-dam.

Director-General of the Nile Water Authority, Anwar Sadat Al-Hajj, said six stations in Khartoum have stopped serving in the areas of Al-Salih, Beit Al-Mal, North Bahri, Umm Kuti and Al-Shajarah, after waters of the Blue Nile, White Nile and Nile River suddenly reduced.

This puts access to drinking water for residents in the affected areas at risk.

Last week, the Sudanese ministry of irrigation and resources revealed a decrease in the level of water coming from Ethiopia at a rate of 900 million cubic metres.

It claimed this was due to Ethiopia filling the Great Renaissance Dam, which was later denied by Addis Ababa.

Read more: Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam: A catastrophe for Egypt?

Political tensions have been running high between upstream Ethiopia and downstream Egypt and Sudan after recent ministerial talks failed to produce a deal on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Cairo fears the dam would severely cut its Nile water supply, which provides nearly 97 percent of the country's freshwater needs.

Last Tuesday, emergency talks to avert a crisis failed to bear fruit and Ethiopia went ahead with filling the dam the following day.

Egypt said last month at the UN that the dam represents an "existential threat" for the country, endangering its water supply downstream. 

Khartoum hopes the dam will help regulate flooding, but in June it warned that millions of lives will be at "great risk" if Ethiopia unilaterally fills the dam.

In a letter to the United Nations Security Council, Sudan raised concerns that water discharged from the GERD could "compromise the safety" of its own Roseires Dam by overwhelming it and causing flooding.

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