Cairo brings forward Ethiopia dam meeting

Second panel meeting over contentious dam

Egypt has brought forward a second meeting of a tripartite technical panel on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the river Nile, from 20-21 October to 16-17 October. Egyptian water minister Hossam Moghazi said the dates of the meeting were brought forward in order to "suit the schedules of Sudanese and Ethiopian irrigation ministers, both of whom will be attending the meeting in Cairo."

This is the second panel meeting aimed at bringing about agreement between the water ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan who have formed a tripartite technical committee to discuss the controversial $6 billion hydroelectric project.

At their last meeting in Addis Ababa on 22 September, the panel – comprising the three water ministers and four experts from each of the three nations involved – agreed to select a consultancy firm to carry out further research within the next six months on the environmental and economic impact of the mega-dam.

The scheme has been contentious from the outset and remains a source of concern for Egyptians who rely on the Nile for their agriculture and almost all of their drinking water.

Egypt and Sudan fear that the completed project could reduce the volume of Nile water flowing downstream, a claim denied by Ethiopian authorities who say the dam will be used mainly for energy-generation purposes and is necessary for its national development plans.