Sudan Damned by Ethiopia’s Dam as Floods Fuel Concern

Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to steer the revival of Ethiopia’s economy, but it’s happening at the face of the death of Sudan and Egypt’s livelihood, economy and peace.

Due to the second filling of the dam, there’s a flood in Sudan with as many as 50 people reported dead. Khartoum is however not tolling the path of political tensions, as it continues to seek a bilateral agreement that will see Ethiopia share important data with it. Sudan sees benefits in the dam and would rather settle for that than go on a war of waters.

According to Anadolu, many power houses have closed shop as a result of the second filling of the GERD, as it has cut water supply to Sudan, from the Blue Nile. Health and environmental systems have also been closing down since the past two months. 

Several mediators have been employed including most recently, the UN Security Council, but all have failed to help both countries reach a logical conclusion. Sudan has rejected the idea of having its issues settled by the African Union as it continues to see the light through the international community.

Despite the pressure mounted on Ethiopia, it filled the dam for the second time and is expecting to earn the dividends soon, at the expense of others. 

Ethiopia’s Ambitious Renaissance, Sudan’s Slow Death: One Dammed, The Other Damned

In July, two water stations could not cope with their low volumes of water and went out of service. The Sudanese government had to step in to control the situation and offer some hope to the progressively distraught Sudanese populace.

“We did a costly mitigation to reduce the damages that the government and individuals will face and suffer,” the man leading Sudan’s negotiation on the dam, Mustafa Hussein al-Zubair said.

Sudan has also worked hard to increase the height of its most prominent dams to store more water in its reserve. The second filling of the GERD was always going to pose a threat to the water independence of Sudan and Egypt, but the latter is exploring political tensions, more than it’s willing to sit at the table.

Ethiopia is also struggling to fill to its needed capacity with just a third of what it desires, directed to the dam. Zubair said the situation hasn’t in any way eased the struggles of his country, no thanks to the size of the dam.

“Still the damage is expected although the filling is over. As per their announcement, they are supposed to fill unilaterally the amount of 13.5 billion cubic meters (BCM). But they could store only one-third of that, which in itself is a big risk,” he said.

More than half of Sudanese living close to the Blue Nile will be affected by the filling of the dam, but it’s not the first time they’ll be adversely affected.

When Ethiopia had its first filling, there was a power outage, floods and shortage of water – both destroying crops, properties, and structures close to the bank of the Blue Nile. 

Ethiopia’s unilateral pose to filling the dam has caused great pains to its riparian states and despite its struggles with fully filling the dam, no thanks to conflicts in its northern region, Tigray, the country has turned deaf ears to every manner of mediation.  

Farmers may not just lose their crops in Sudan, people will also lose their family members as a result of the threats of flood in the country. 

GERD: A Decade In Troubled Waters For Egypt, Sudan

Since 2011, Egypt and Sudan have been on diplomatic rows with Ethiopia over the construction of the GERD. 

The dam, seen by Ethiopia as a game changer,  is expected to champion its cause and quest to become Africa’s foremost exporter of power. The $4bn dam is expected to generate at least 6,000 Megawatts which Ethiopia hopes to sell to other countries and big companies. 

When it is finalized, it will be the biggest hydroelectric powerhouse in Africa, and the seventh-largest dam in the world. However, what rekindles the flames of Ethiopia’s hopes is killjoy to Egypt’s sustenance.

There are fears the filling of the dam will lead to drought in Egypt, drastically reducing its water supply for irrigation farming and make it prone to flood. Although the concerns are the same in Sudan, the effects are not as bad but with deaths now being recorded from flood, Ethiopia may be fanning the embers of an endless discord with its ambitious project. 

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