ADDIS ABABA - Experts claim that Ethiopia is aiming to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in a time-frame that takes into account the concern of the downstream countries, and the various hydrological and climate variables.
Berhanu Belachew, Dean of Geography Department and Lecturer at Kotebe Metropolitan University, said that a simulation model is prepared which bids to fill the Dam in a sensible timetable without causing significant harm on the two countries in the lower course of the Nile River. “We are working according to this simulation model and study, which outlines the possibility of filling the Dam between 3 to 5 years in a responsible manner.”
Explaining this further, Berhanu said the climate and amount of rainfall over the River's Basin varies, and also because the volume of the River's water is not constant during the rainy (Kiremt) and dry season (Bega), it is hard to put a definite time-frame. In light of this,and dry season (Bega), it is hard to put a definite time-frame. In light of this, amount of water used to fill the Dam will vary in accordance to the amount of seasonal rainfall and volume of the River's water, which is why it is said that the Dam filling will take between three to five years time depending on these factors, he noted. In relation to this, he said, a model that forecast monthly flow of the River has been prepared.
Regarding the International Panel of Experts, which is commissioned to report whether if the filling and reservoir of the Dam will affect the downstream countries, Berhanu indicated that Ethiopia has committed itself for the conduct of the studies with the aim of building trust and confidence, “but we are sure that they will reach to same kind of conclusion as we did in our own study.”
In addition, Berhanu mentioned the positive role the Dam is expected to play in terms of green climate, pointing out how the electric power that will be generated from the Dam will help ease the use of traditional firewood, and how also the reservoir will bring positive impact on the area's climate.
Tefera Beyene, Consultant to Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, for his part said that the filling model of the Dam is not only designed not to cause significant harm to lower riparian countries, but it also takes into account the hydro and geographical factors into account. He adds that the reservoir's filling strategy emanates from the policy of Ethiopia that views at cooperation in allowing for utilization of shared resources equitably views utilizing common resource jointly. The filling of GERD should not be seen as huge issue that does not have any solution, he concluded.
BY ROBEL YOHANNES