Sudanese experts confer on Ethiopia’s Renaissance dam in Khartoum
As reported previously, Sudan held a symposium titled “Ethiopia’s Millennium Dam and future of development in the Sudan”, last week.
Sudan-Vision Daily published a recap of the discussion yesterday as follows:
[The word Millennium is corrected as Renaissance in the interest of clarity.]
Renaissance Dam: Necessary for Integrating Interests of Nile Basin States
(June 17, 2012)
Sudanese Engineering Association in Khartoum held last week a symposium titled: Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Future of Development in Sudan, attended by many experts, consultants in the field of Nile waters and irrigation, namely the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources and Sadiq Al-Mahdi.
The symposium dealt with analysis and debating the Renaissance Dam, being constructed 12 km away east of Sudanese borders with Ethiopia, benefits and economic and environmental effects of the Dam on the states of Nile Basin.
Sudan is aware of the benefits and effects of the Dam
Professor Saifuddine Hamad Abdallah, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, said his ministry conducted various studies in all fields and the Nile Basin states for 25 years to come and that it has a complete vision for what is going on now in respect of the Renaissance Dam and strategy for dealing with the new situation and proposed dams in these countries.
The Minister said Sudan would make maximum use of this dam, which would reduce clay, whose removal costs millions of dollars, adding that the dam will provide waters at fixed levels that will help in irrigated agriculture, especially in the wake of shortages of rain across the regions of the country.
The minister said that shortage of electricity power will be compensated from new proposed dams or purchase from Ethiopia which sells power for 50 US cents per kilowatt, which far less than production cost for a kilowatt in Sudan.
He stated that the dam will have many benefits for Egypt for it will reduce amount of alluvium in the basin of the High Dam and evaporation, adding that the Ethiopians side always welcomes proposals by Sudan and Egypt in the interest of all parties.
Necessity for Nile Basin States to participate in constructing the Dam
Professor Mohamed Akod Osman, the Dean of Faculty of Engineering, University of Khartoum, stated that the Renaissance Dam would have positive impact on Sudan if agreement on how to operate it was reached to achieve development and self-sufficiency because it would supply water at stable rate throughout the year.
In his paper, the Professor said the dam would reduce alluvium for Sudan by 100 million meter cubic. He underscored the importance of taking into account international legal legislations to tap on the Nile Basin waters, adding that the Renaissance Dam will change the level of Nile waters for the Basin States.
Akod demanded Sudan and Egypt contribute to the cost of construction estimated at $5 billion in US dollars to ensure common interests, adding that the Dam will provide huge amount of electricity that can be utilized in development for the Nile Basin states.
Dr. Osman Al-Tom Hamad, advisor to the Ministry of Water Resources, explained that the construction of the Renaissance Dam was especially aimed at power generation not agricultural production due to the nature of Ethiopian mountainous lands. He added that the Dam is located 12 km from Sudan and would be finalized in 2017 and that construction has now reached 10 per cent.
He said the Dam would affect electricity production in Sudan during summer, but would improve during winter because waters would be available during this period. However, Ethiopia offered to Sudan purchasing power at 50 cent per a kilowatt, far cheaper than that produced in Sudan.
He said that some sandy island would disappear and annual accumulation of alluvium would reduce, which would increase cost of electricity production due to scarcity of this alluvium.
He called for the necessity for Sudan to make use of the available waters in agricultural and working for agricultural integration in the Nile Basin States.
The Nile will suffice all Nile Basin States
Dr. Ahmed Adam Osman, advisor to the Ministry of Water Resources, affirmed that the Nile Basin states can benefit from waters if agreement satisfactory to all parties is reached, adding that Ethiopia has the feeling that it is not benefiting from these waters, adding that Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are suffering poverty, climate change and accumulating alluvium along the Nile stream, and that this Dam will block waters above and therefore will reduce alluvium and help in precipitation, which in turn will reduce amount of evaporation.
He called for joint work so that Ethiopia may not control the Nile Waters.
Dr. Merghani Taj Assied added that any heedlessness in political relations will affect the flow of Nile waters in the member states in the coming period and that the constructing of the Dam would affect food security in Egypt and Sudan, fish resources and the Nile level will go below average levels, which require longer pipes and additional cost for farming along the Nile for farmers.
However, he said the construction of the Dam will reduce soil erosion on the banks.
Integration of Nile Basin states
Sadiq Al-Mahdi said that lack of agreement among the Nile Basin member states will lead to grave political crisis, adding that holding out by any party would encourage others to take more fundamental positions and create cold war among them.
He called for the necessity to review the agreement on the Nile waters in such a way to make other members states feel fair distribution of cottas, adding that any military solution is useless in this issues, but the solutions rests with the recognition of the need of the Basin state and accepting their opinions on the agreement signed during the colonization and taking into account the desire of the Basin states for benefiting from the Nile waters.
Al-Mahdi called for a collective conference for all Sudanese so that they have their say and determines their fate regarding the Nile waters; in addition to integrating the interests of the Nile Basin member States because Sudan is blessed with arable lands while Ethiopia has potentials for electricity production and Egypt manufacturing expertise.