Given its national importance and the irreplaceable economic and social benefits it yields to the national economy, Ethiopia has started constructing a flagship hydropower dam (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD) at its water resource-Abay River. Following the commencement of the dam, however, a number of concerns have been raised regarding the dam, saying it will reduce the pattern and flow of water and causes environmental issues.
In fact, the potential impacts of the dam have been studied;and for the past decade Ethiopia has been concomitantly reiterating as the nation has no intention to harm riparian countries, including Sudan and Egypt, except developing it for generating hydroelectric power.
Incontestably,the dam,apart from benefiting Ethiopia has greater role in strengthening regional integration, in terms of facilitating economic corporation in the Horn, specifically with Sudan.Through providing energy interconnection and creating economic cooperation, the GERDbenefits Sudan in numerous ways. As studies indicate, the dam will be capable of handling flood, reduce alluvium in Sudan and also facilitates irrigation of new agricultural lands. What is more, it will enable Sudan to sustain regular flow of water throughout the year and harvest three times in a year.
According toDr. Osman Altoum, former Minister of Water and Irrigation of Sudan, GERD is a very beneficial project and is a blessing for all countries in the Horn as it can bolster economic integration. Inan interview he held recently with Sudanese's National TV, he said, if the three countries
(Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt) work on it accordingly, there is a lot of gain from the dam. "Ethiopia is working to ensure sustainable food security. On the other way round, Sudan is indire need of hydropower generation. And this is an area where those two countries could sit together and work on it so as to benefit from it.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Professor Seifeldin Hamad Abdalla, Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) Secretariat Executive Director also said that the dam would play a crucial role in economic integration among the countries. Thus, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt should resolve the issue of the dam peacefully and amicably.
"Itis important for the countries to come to a common understanding on this issue and agree on the filling and operation of the dam together because an agreement is very important for this project; and even for future projects." True, GERD has a number of benefits to Sudan and Egypt.What is more, it will offer a long term development potential for countries of the region.
Currently, Ethiopia is in the final stage of completing the construction of the Dam and it has also set plans to hold the second round dam reservoir filling in this upcoming rainy season, July and August.The filling would not be rescheduled as it has its own huge economic costs and all at once the public is waiting eagerly for its successful completion. Thus, instead of attempting to make the dam a source of contention, Sudan and Egypt have to work to reach to significant concessions ending up their intractable rhetoric and futile stabs