Ethiopia has acknowledged that the water levels behind the giant hydroelectric dam it is building on the Blue Nile River are rising, though officials described this a natural part of the construction process.
“The GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) water filling is being done in line with the dam’s natural construction process,” Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s water minister, was quoted by state media as saying on Wednesday, a day after talks with Sudan and Egypt on the project stalled.
Pointing out that the dam’s wall has now been raised to 560 metres (1,837 feet), compared with 525 metres (1,722) last year, Seleshi had tweeted earlier in the day: “The inflow into the reservoir due to heavy rainfall and runoff exceeded the outflow and created natural pooling. This continues until overflow is triggered soon.”
Sudan’s irrigation ministry said water levels on the Blue Nile, the source of most of the Nile River’s waters, had declined by 90 million cubic metres per day since Ethiopia started filling the reservoir.
“It was evident from the flow metres in the Dimim border station with Ethiopia that there is a retreat in the water levels … confirming the closure of the gates of the Renaissance Dam,” it said.