Nile Nations Agree Panel to Oversee Study on Ethiopia Dam Impact

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to form a committee within a month to oversee a regional hydrological study of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia’s Water and Energy Ministry said.

The panel will be comprised of four representatives from each country who will select consultants, review their findings and submit a final report to each country’s government, Fekahmed Negash, head of the ministry’s Boundary and Transboundary River Affairs Directorate, said in a phone interview today from the capital, Addis Ababa.

The $4.2 billion dam being built on the Blue Nile River, the main tributary of the Nile, is scheduled for completion in 2017. Egypt, which relies on the Nile for almost all its water, has said the dam will significantly reduce water supplies. An international assessment in June found that further studies were needed to assess the impact of the dam on downstream nations. Last month, Ethiopian officials disagreed with Egypt’s push to have international representation on the new committee.

“There is a basic change of attitude” by the Egyptians, Fekahmed said. “It was very positive.”

The countries plan to meet again in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, in the first week of January, he said.

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