Ethiopia completes 3rd Filling of Nile dam reservoir
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Friday announced the completion of the third filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The development comes a day after Ethiopia said it had launched electricity production from the second turbine at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the northwest of the country.
Ethiopia has been constructing the GERD also known as on the main tributary of the Nile since 2011.
The massive $4.2 billion dam, set to be the largest hydro-electric scheme in Africa, has been at the center of a regional dispute ever since Ethiopia broke ground on the project in 2011.
“Constructing the dam, we have no intention of harming downstream countries,” he said, adding the dam would entail a lot of benefits rather, one of which is regulation of the flow of the river Nile and hence prevention of floods."
Since its inception, the mega project has been a point of controversy between Egypt and Ethiopia, with Cairo expressing concern that its "historical share" of the Nile's waters would be reduced, while Ethiopia says the project is necessary for its national development.
Egypt, an arid nation which relies on the Nile for about 97 percent of its irrigation and drinking water, last month protested to the UN Security Council that the third filling was under way.
Abiy nevertheless sought to reassure Egypt and Sudan over the impact of dam.
“When we set out to build a dam on the Nile, we said from the beginning that we did not want to make the river our own,” he said on Twitter.
“We hope that just like Ethiopia, the other gifted nations of the Nile, Sudan and Egypt, will get to utilise their share.”
Standing 145 meters (over 475 feet) tall and 1,800 meters long, it is capable of holding 70 billion cubic meters (more than 2.4 trillion cubic feet) of water in its reservoir.
Meanwhile, trilateral talks on the dam between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt remain stalled.
Egypt and Sudan, both downstream nations, have demanded Ethiopia sign a "binding and comprehensive" agreement on the filling and operation of the dam, a demand resisted by Addis Ababa. Cairo views the structure as an existential threat to its share of Nile water, its only source of freshwater.