The first ever talk-show on Ethiopia’s hydropower giant - Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam hosted by Walta TV at Haile Resort, Arba Minch has mirrored the deep-rooted anguish, seething anger and concern of professionals, academicians of AMU community, who unanimously stand for its completion.

Professionals from Water Resources Engineering, Law, Academics, Research & Community Service countering Egypt’s argument on Nile River espoused ongoing public and diplomatic engagements by Ethiopian government and at different forums will establish Ethiopian standpoint in stronger manner. Click here to see the pictures

University President, Dr Damtew Darza, echoing pan Ethiopian feeling, said, experts across Ethiopia are not in favor of US intervening on stalemate between Ethiopia and Egypt where latter is in fact misleading global community by saying if GERD allowed to get filled immediately will affect flow of water towards Aswan Dam, its capacity and probably its height will also get jeopardized.

Reiterating national stand, he stressed that undoubtedly Ethiopia has legitimate right to use its available natural resources and with regard to Nile we are abiding by global treaty that asks for equitable and fair water share among all downstream nations; hence, we whole-heartedly support its completion.

Water Technology Institute’s Scientific Director, Dr Abdella Kemal, said, GERD will generate over 15,000 Giga Watt hour annually may end acute power shortage, it will fetch foreign currency, create jobs, ensure food security, alley downstream nations’ flooding woes and prove to be a great tourist destination. More importantly, it will reduce huge evaporation caused by Egypt’s Aswan Dam for it has huge surface area and built in the desert while GERD is relatively situated in the low temperate area.

Repudiating Egypt’s claim that Ethiopia with its adequate rainfall shouldn’t build dam, said, Ethiopia’s 12 river basins annually generate 122 Billion Meter Cubic surface water of which 83% found in Tekeze, Abay, Baro Akobo and Omo Gibe basins. Omo Gibe flows into Lake Rudolph found at Ethiopia and Kenya border that ends there while three basins’ 70% surface water flows down to Egypt. And Egypt has huge ground water reserve and Mediterranean costal line so their argument is illogical; while Ethiopia honors International Water Convention that calls for equitable share of water among riparian nations.

It’s about sovereignty, says Academic Affairs Vice President, Dr Yechale Kebede, for Nile River originates from Ethiopia and it’s gift for us, but at the same time, we abide by international law that warrants fair and equitable use of water between Ethiopia and downstream nations.

He adds that Egypt can’t force its unjustified argument that revolves around pacts signed during colonial era in 1929 and 1959 of which Ethiopia wasn’t part. And he also believes that African conflicts must be resolved by Africans for we know our culture much better hence, we don’t need foreign arbitrators rather African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development can use their efforts to solve this standoff.

GERD belongs to all Ethiopians, hence, Research and Community Service Vice President, Dr Simon Shibru, said, we have right to use water and construct dam to spur socio-economic development. And at this crucial moment, we must remain united to nail Egyptian’s lies and convince global community with scientific data. It will bolster our negotiation and diplomatic endeavor, professionals from different sectors must travel all across to lobby with different states including riparian nations so that Ethiopian standpoint gets understood.

International Law Expert, Mr Zerihun Bode, trashing Egypt’s argument, said, it’s hollow and has no legal sanctity because it’s still sticking to the pact signed with United Kingdom in 1929 and 1959 that said to have given it sweeping power over Nile water and no upstream nations can alter it. It states if GERD gets filled immediately will impair their right; hence, it wants to sign new pact with Ethiopia to ensure that right.

He adds, Egypt is so impudent that it refuses to comply with International Water Convention inked in 1997 that states use of water among riparian nations must be based on their sovereignty on an equitable and reasonable way. Even some principles of 2nd International Treaty signed between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan emphasizes on equitable and reasonable utilization of water, good neighboring relations, etc. But Egypt deliberately seems to have forgotten it; basically, they are just making noises which are illogical.

Citing historical perspective, Institute of Technology’s Scientific Director, Dr Alemayehu Chufamo, said, for the last 200 years, Egyptian leaders tried to destabilize internal peace in Eastern Africa so that they can monopolize Nile River. They fought two wars with Ethiopia in Gundat and Gura, but were defeated

and thereafter, started fomenting internal disturbance in Somalia and were responsible in creating political conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia to achieve their nefarious design.

Therefore, at this juncture, I urge all Ethiopians to remain united to deflate Egypt’s divisive agenda for it wants to derail process of development in Eastern Africa. We aren’t selfish, but, when any country likes to assault our sovereignty and try to destabilize development process, we will not let it happen at any cost.

Water Research Resource Centre’s Director, Dr Samuel Dagalo, citing technical data, said, Egypt is circulating misinformation about its inadequate resources; the fact is, they have ground water; four major aquifer systems which are 3000 times more than that of Nile flow; they have 1000 kilometers of costal line of Mediterranean; and they reuse waste water, but such options aren’t available to Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has 122 billion meter cubic annual surface runoff and ground water is about 32-to-40 BMC replenishing amount which is trans-boundary and 70% of it is available only for four months. Egypt is harping on 1959 Accord of colonial era between Egypt and Sudan that gives Egypt 55 billion meter cubic and Sudan gets 18.5 BMC water and remaining for upstream 10 nations is totally unjustified and Ethiopia isn’t part of it neither has any biding of whatsoever.

AMU vehemently termed Egypt’s outburst as completely preposterous with no concrete substance; it also dismisses Arab Leagues’ and US’s offer of arbitration as untenable. Affirming its support, AMU, said, it will ceaselessly extend financial, research and technical support as it represents aspiration of all Ethiopians.

To muster diplomatic support in this regard, it has urged African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to play crucial role in resolving ongoing standoff. It also lauded Sudan and other friendly nations for backing Ethiopia’s plea for fair utilization of Nile water.

(Corporate Communication Directorate)