Environmental impacts of Ethiopian dam ignored

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Copyright: D.J. Clark/Panos

Ethiopian dam deal ignores science, warn experts

Speed read

  • Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have agreed to regulate Nile water use
  • But the deal has been dismissed as a science-free ‘political agreement’
  • There is concern that the dam’s environmental impacts are being ignored

[CAIRO] Water scientists from Egypt have raised concerns over a declaration governing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that is meant to ensure fair access to Nile water for countries downstream.

The Declaration of principles, which the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed in Khartoum, Sudan, on 23 March, is meant to regulate Nile water use following political upheaval over the dam, which is about a third into its construction.

Talking to SciDev.Net, scientists monitoring the declaration’s creation have warned that concerns over the dam’s impact on the environment and local people have been sidelined for gains in political negotiations.

Nader Noureddine, a water resources and soil researcher at Cairo University, says the technical committee appointed by all three countries to oversee the dam’s construction will be allowed to study documents provided by the Ethiopian government, but “will not be allowed to visit the dam or to witness the work on the site”. This, Noureddine says, will seriously impact its ability to make an evidence-based assessment of the dam’s environmental impacts.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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