Ethiopia dam: Countries ‘need to work on drought response’



The operation of Ethiopia’s huge dam on a tributary of the River Nile is, in most years, unlikely to have a big impact on Egypt’s water resources, but the countries need to co-operate when it comes to coping with multi-year droughts, a group of hydrologists have found. 

The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (Gerd) has become a major source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt, which is downstream on the Nile. The African Union is currently coordinating negotiations to try and resolve the problems

In their research, the water experts from US and British universities were able to use past rainfall patters to determine Gerd’s impact on the flow of water downstream.

They found that in most cases that while water levels at Egypt’s High Aswan Dam would be reduced they were still well within its normal operational volume and should not be a cause for concern.

The experts did say that a drought lasting several years could have some potential impacts and an agreement needs to be made for a co-ordinated response “if harmful impacts are to be minimised”.