Arba Minch University hosts talk-show on GERD and its fate

In the first ever, talk-show on Ethiopia’s hydropower giant - Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam was hosted by Walta TV at Haile resort in Arba Minch wherein professionals from Water Resources Engineering, International Law and socio-economic streams brainstormed and presented their point of view on Nile River stalemate and ongoing diplomatic endeavors by Ethiopian government at different forums.Click here to see the pictures

Water Technology Institute’s Scientific Director, Dr Abdella Kemal, said, GERD stands to generate 6000 Mega Watt that will end acute power crunch; it will generate foreign exchange, create job opportunities, ensure food security, resolve downstream nations’ flooding issues and will be a great tourist destination. More importantly, it will curtail huge amount of water evaporation caused by Egypt’s Aswan Dam for it has huge surface area and built in the desert while GERD is situated relatively in the low temperate area.

Repudiating Egypt’s argument that Ethiopia has adequate rainfall hence it shouldn’t build dam, he said, Ethiopia’s 12 river basins that annually generate 122 Billion Meter Cubic surface water of which 83% water found in Tekeze, Abay, Baro Akobo and Omo Gibe river basins. Omo Gibe flows into Lake Rudolph found at Ethiopia and Kenya border that ends there while three basins’ 70% surface water flow down to Egypt. On other hand, Egypt has huge ground water reserve and Mediterranean costal line that offers opportunity to desalinize water if needed, so their argument holds no water. Ethiopia adhering to International Water Convention favors equitable share of water between riparian nations.

Institute of Technology’s Scientific Director, Dr Alemayehu Chufamo, citing historical perspective, said, for the last 200 years, Egyptian leaders continued to destabilize internal peace in Eastern Africa so that they can have upper hands over Nile River. They even fought two wars with Ethiopia in Gundat and Gura (now in Eritrea) but were defeated and after their debacle they started fomenting internal disturbance in Somalia and even created conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia to achieve their nefarious design.

I want all Ethiopians must unite together to defeat the divisive agenda of Egypt for it purposely wants to derail process of development in Eastern Africa. Ethiopians aren’t selfish people but when any country would like to assault on our political sovereignty and derail development agenda, we will not let it happen at any cost, he reiterated.

Water Research Resource Centre’s Director, Dr Samuel Dagalo, said, the major dispute is on Nile river; Egypt is circulating misinformation about inadequate available resources for them; they have ground water; four major aquifer systems which are 3000 times more than that of Nile flow; they have 1000 kilometers of costal line of Mediterranean; they reuse waste water but Ethiopian has no such options.

Of course, Ethiopia has 122 billion meter cubic annual runoff surface water and ground water is around 32 to 40 billion meter cubic annual replenishing amount which is trans-boundary and 70% of this water is available only for four months. Egypt wants to maintain 1959 Accord of colonial era that states share of water between Egypt and Sudan that gives Egypt 55 billion meter cubic water and Sudan gets 18.5 bmc and remaining for upstream 10 nations which is unjustified and Ethiopia isn’t part of it and has no biding.

Going into pros and cons of this strategic issue of national interest, AMU professionals collectively opined that to broker peace between riparian nations, there is need of continued diplomatic and constructive public engagement backed by sound technical data; it will help bury the hatchet and craft realistic cooperation framework for common goal.

AMU vehemently termed Egypt allegation as out-rightly preposterous with no concrete substance; it also dismisses Arab Leagues’ and USA’s stand as untenable. And further solemnly affirming its whole-hearted support to GERD, said, it will ceaselessly extend financial, research and technical support as it represents the aspiration and determination of all Ethiopians.

And in order to rally diplomatic support for this iconic hydropower giant, it urged African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to play crucial role in resolving ongoing standoff between Ethiopia and Egypt. It also lauded Sudan and other friendly nations for backing Ethiopia’s plea for fair utilization of Nile water.

University President, Dr Damtew Darza, 3 vice presidents, Dr Yechale Kebede, Dr Simon Shibru, Tarikua Woldemedhin, Dr Teshome Yirgu, Dr Teklu Wegayehu, Dr Seid Ahmed, Mr Zerihum Boda and others participated in the show.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)