AFRICANGLOBE – Ethiopia will begin on Tuesday the process of diverting the course of the Blue Nile River to continue the construction process of its Renaissance Dam, raising concerns over Egypt’s water supply.
The Official Spokesman of the Ethiopian government, Shimeles Kemal, said on Tuesday that diverting the course of the Blue Nile, one of the Nile River’s two major tributaries, is essential for building the new dam.
“The river will return to its natural course after the completion of the dam’s construction,” Kemal said as reported by the Middle East News Agency.
On Monday, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Berhane Gebre-Christos said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project would not affect Egypt’s share of the Nile water.
“The in-construction dam will be used exclusively for power generation and not for irrigation,” the Ethiopian minister told reporters on the sidelines of the African Union Summit currently taking place in Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia announced in 2011 its plan to build the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa on the main stream of the Nile River.
The Renaissance Dam is built along the river that provides Egypt with about 60 percent of its annual 55 million cubic metres of Nile water.
Egypt and Ethiopia are members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a partnership among Nile states aimed at sharing the river’s socio-economic benefits and promoting regional security.