The Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati said that his country will not wait for damage to it due to the second filling of the Ethiopian dam, stressing at the same time that Egypt is preparing plans to deal with the possibilities of the collapse of the dam, no matter how weak.
Commenting on Ethiopia’s statement in which it expressed its willingness to exchange information about the dam and select experts to manage the dams, the Egyptian minister said that exchanging information would be one of the steps to implement an agreement and not a substitute for the agreement. “We have not signed any agreement yet.”
The minister added, during his dialogue with the media close to the authority Amr Adeeb on the Saudi “MBC Egypt” channel, that Egypt has more information about the state of the dam and the developments of filling its lake than Ethiopia itself, and that Egypt is ready to deal with all scenarios, including Ethiopia’s filling. The second to Lake Dam by unilateral decision.
Sudan and Egypt announced yesterday, Saturday, that they rejected the Ethiopian offer to exchange information on the second filling of the Renaissance Dam after the Kinshasa talks ended without consensus. The Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation, the Ethiopian proposal, said that its acceptance would be regarded as an acknowledgement of the second filling of the dam.
Technical problems threatening the dam
On the other hand, the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation indicated his country’s fear of the technical problems threatening the dam, explaining that the first level of the dam designs witnessed technical problems witnessed by an international committee and that Ethiopia refused to send the second level of designs that were supposed to clarify a solution. These problems, which means technical issues may persist.
The minister explained that Egypt is dealing with this matter very seriously to protect the Egyptian irrigation system from the repercussions of potential dam collapses, indicating that Egypt has built a “bridge” in front of the High Dam to leak excess water and build additional dams in a depression that is about to absorb the coming water in the event of the dam collapsing, procedures that cost 20 billion pounds (one dollar equals about 15 pounds), because the collapse of the dam without similar preparations means complete destruction.
The Egyptian minister also stressed that his country is trying to absorb the largest amount of water shock in the event of the second filling of the Ethiopian dam, so that there is no difficult impact on the Egyptians, and that the state has been working on this plan for 5 years, whether by building small dams to collect rainwater or building treatment plants, Or water rationing, canal lining, modern irrigation, smart irrigation, flood protection works, or underground water exploration and management.
He added that Egypt has also worked to legalize crops that consume large quantities of water, whether rice, reeds or bananas, and reduce areas, and there was a great response from citizens in this regard.
The minister explained that Egypt will start shock-absorbing measures the day after the start of the second filling of the Ethiopian dam, indicating several levels of shock related to the rainy season and whether it will be intense on Ethiopia, which means a large flood and little effects on Egypt, in exchange for what he described as a shock if it was The rains are few and thus the flood is weak.
Negotiation is in everyone’s interest
Regarding the return to negotiations, the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation said that it is in the interest of the Ethiopian side to end the dam crisis through negotiation, and it is also in the interest of Egypt and in the interest of the whole world that this issue be resolved by negotiation, adding that Egypt always leaves space for negotiations and that the negotiation team takes into account In all rounds of negotiations, no matter how tough, the possibility of returning to a new round of negotiations.
The minister pointed out that Egypt’s share of water, estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters, if it is reduced by one billion cubic meters, will affect 200 thousand families, as it affects 200 thousand feddans, and the family consists on average of 5 individuals, and this means that one billion cubic meters of Water will affect one million people, and there are 40 million people in Egypt who live on agriculture, and they will be without a source of income if water becomes scarce.
He added that the loss of a million people the source of their livelihood may push them to fuel internal crises or fall into easy prey for terrorist groups that push them to jihad in the face of countries that cut off their water, and most of them may resort to irregular migration to Europe, and Egypt so far has the ability to stop irregular migration, but if The number has reached a million or two, and the state cannot control them.
The latest round of negotiations on the Renaissance Dam ended in failure to achieve any progress after 4 days of continuous meetings that were held in Kinshasa, capital of the Congo, early this month, which Egypt described as the last opportunity.
The Kinshasa tour came 3 months after the African Union-sponsored negotiations faltered, and after statements by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on March 30th, it carried the strongest threatening tone to Addis Ababa since the outbreak of the crisis 10 years ago.
Al-Sisi said at the time that “the waters of the Nile are a red line, and we will not allow our water rights to be compromised, and any prejudice to Egypt’s water will have a reaction that threatens the stability of the entire region.”
Addis Ababa insists on a second filling of the dam with water next July, even if no agreement is reached, while Cairo and Khartoum adhere to first reaching a tripartite agreement to preserve their water facilities and ensure the continued flow of their annual share of the Nile water, amounting to 55.5 billion cubic meters, to Egypt. And 18.5 billion cubic meters for Sudan.