Renaissance Dam Historic Accord to be Signed in Khartoum Tomorrow

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (SUDANOW)- President Abdul Fatah Al- Sisi of Egypt and Prime Minister Haile Desalgn of Ethiopia are set to arrive in Khartoum tomorrow "Monday" for the signing of the Renaissance Dam historic accord between the Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia, slated for March 23.

Mutaz Musa, Chairman of the Ministerial Board for the Nile Basin States Initiative-cum-Minister of Water Resources and Electricity, has described the document of the declaration of principles on cooperation between the three countries on the Renaissance Dam as a prelude for cooperation and the implementation of the joint sustainable development projects between the three of them.

Minister, Mutaz, has pointed out that the document was the result of industrious work, based on dialogue and consultation.

According to water experts the signing of the document by the three heads of state, will result in cooperation and coordination in the first phase of the filling of the Dam Lake and exchange of information among the three countries.

They also added that the completion of the two remaining studies, as recommended by international experts, will put in place solutions for any negative impacts that could be produced by the dam.

Continuing the transparency and business-like approach, the three countries have so far adopted in dealing with the Renaissance Dam, will yield lots of positive outcome in the remedy of all unresolved dossiers, opening up new doors for fruitful cooperation between the Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia. As well, this will maximize the benefits from the huge natural resources the three countries possess.

Those following the negotiation process on this Renaissance Dam will notice that since the declaration on the establishment of the Dam in 2011, the Late Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zinawe took the initiative to invite each of Egypt and the Sudan, to participate in the study of the impacts of the dam.

The three countries then agreed to form a joint tripartite technical committee. The former Minister of Irrigation, Engineer Kamal Ali, named Professor Saif Eddin Hamad, the water expert, and Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, the resident engineer for Merowe dam, as representatives for the Sudan in the said technical committee.

The Sudanese Minister led the Sudan delegation to the first meeting of the committee which was held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, November 2011.

In fact each state selected two representatives, a total number of six members. The three states agreed to select four international dam experts from each of Germany, France, United Kingdom and South Africa, bringing the total number of the members to ten, forming what came to be known as the International Experts Committee which began its work in November 2011 and finalized it on the 31rs of May 2013.

And while the International Experts Committee continued its work as one technical team, of studying the dam from a technical point of view, meeting in each of Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt, visiting the site of the dam and reviewing all relevant document and drawing of the dam, holding a meeting with the project consultant and the project contractor and the consultant of the Ethiopian Ministry of Irrigation, it was able to finally unanimously write down its final report in May 2013.

The report of the committee represented the first accord of the three states on the technical aspect of the project.

Prominent among the outcome of the experts finding are three recommendations: safety and design of the dam and the Ethiopian government was asked to go ahead and implement it which it did, the second was to conduct a study on the impact of the dam on physics, and the impact on the Blue Nile resources for the two estuary state, quantity, timing and storage, and the third is conducting a study on the environmental, economic and social impacts resulting from the construction of the dam, on each of the Sudan and Egypt.

The meetings of the tri-partite National Technical Committees continued in Khartoum during November 2013, December 2o13, January 2014 and August 2014. The committees agreed on the need of a joint follow up technical mechanism, appointment of international offices to conduct studies and that the cost of these studies to be shared among the three countries.

In August 2014, two days following technical meeting led by the ministers of water resources from the three countries, the three ministers issued a joint statement in which they agreed to come to gether for conducting the two studies recommended by the panel of experts and that an international consultancy firm or firms be hired to conduct the studies. The Ministers also agreed on the scope of the two studies, as recommended by the international experts.

They were also agreed on setting up a committee comprising national experts from the three countries. This committee would set up its own work procedures. The Ethiopian Minister for Water and Irrigation then invited the Sudanese and Egyptian Ministers to pay a field visit to the site of the dam.

As the Renaissance Dam is one of the huge strategic projects that would effect huge changes to the economies of the three states and would have short and long term impacts on the area, the leaders of the three states conducted consultations and decided to introduce a political leverage as impetus for the negotiations after the technical aspects had become clear to each party. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries were thus instructed to join the negotiations and to agree on a document of consent and cooperation that would be endorsed and signed by the Heads State of the three countries.

The negotiations on the political axis on the Renaissance Dam started between the three countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in February 2015 and concluded in Khartoum, Sudan, on March the 6th 2015. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs along with the Ministers for Water Resources in the three countries, following joint meeting that continued for three days, agreed on the Document of Declaration on Co-operation between the three counties on the Renaissance Dam.

The Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is situated some 20 away from the joint borders with the Sudan on the Blue Nile. It was initially known as the Millennium Dam, then it was renamed the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, GRED for shot.

The main purpose behind the construction of the dam is to generate electricity. It is designed to produce 6000 megawatt from 16 turbines, distributed between two stations. The dam ranks number eight worldwide with regard to its hydroelectricity generation. The first such dam is the Chinese three straits dam which produces 22500 megawatts.

According to statistics released by the Dams Unit at the Ministry, the overall storage capacity of the Renaissance Dam is 74 billion cubic meters (of which 60 billion live storage). The lake covers an area of 1800 kilometers and extends 246 km, with the maximum highest of the dam reaching 145 meters. The dam produces 15700 gigawatt/h annually.

By contrast the Merowe dam storage capacity stands at 12 billion cubic meters, and the Egyptian High Dam storage capacity stands at 162 billion cubic meters, while the area covered by the lake created by Merowe dam stands at 800 square kilometers and the High dam covers 6000 square kilometers.

The lake created by Merowe dam extends to 176 kms against 500 km for the High Dam lake. The maximum highest for Merowe dam stands at 67 meter against 110 meters for the Egyptian High Dam. Merowe dam produced 5600 Gigawatt/h annually against 10000 Gigwatt/h annually for the High Dam. (Gigawatt equals one million kilowatts).

One of the dividends of the Renaissance Dam is that it will produce clean electricity energy, three times the energy produced by all the present Sudanese electricity power stations. This will give a huge push to the development process in the three state and therefore help create social, political and security stability in the three states. It will likewise boost the economic feasibility of electricity linkage between Ethiopia, the Sudan and Egypt. This will in turn boost the trade and other benefits exchange between the three states and would make the area a common market that brings together a population of 250 million people. It will also help provide electricity service for the rural areas thus reflecting on other health, education, services and tourism sectors.

The dam will back up the idea of benefits exchange among the eastern Nile Basin countries, based on the fact that eastern Nile basin water resources constitute 85% of the Nile water resources.

The dam will also regulate the flow of the Blue Nile river and the Nile River water, increasing the annual electricity production in the Roseris, Sinar and Merowe dams and any other dams that would be constructed in the future along the Nile river.

It will furthermore add new cultivable areas and bring down the cost of pumping water for the present day projects. It will moreover contribute in the storage capacity in the upper course of the river, thus reducing evaporation and increase the annual input of the River Nile.

Beside regulating the river Nile flow, thus reducing menace of flooding, improving river transport and provides for streamlining rain waters from the urban and village areas adjacent to the Blue Nile and the Nile River, during the rainy season, it will further more improve provision of drinking water supply for those areas.

The dam will also help reduce silting on the Blue Nile, help improve irrigation, cut the costs in the irrigated projects and increase the efficiency of water storage in the Blue Nile.



Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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