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Ethiopia started filling the Grand Renaissance Dam

Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan are yet to reach an agreement over the filling and operation of the dam. 

Ethiopia _ Dam filling
Image : Maxar via EBC

July 15, 2020

Ethiopia has confirmed that it has started filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Fana Broadcasting Corporate, State-affiliated local media, cited Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation, and Energy – Seleshi Bekeke, as saying that the dam is getting filled in line with the natural course of the construction.

He has also confirmed that the latest Satellite images of the dam, which is published by some media outlets and circulating on social media too, are correct.

However, his twitter message seems to have a different tone. He called the new water level “natural pooling” due to heavy rain rather than an action on the part of Ethiopia to fill the dam as scheduled.

“The GERD construction has reached level 560m compared to level 525m last year this time. The inflow into the reservoir due to heavy rainfall and runoff exceeded the outflow and created natural pooling. This continues until overflow is triggered soon,” he said in his tweet. The height will grow to 640 meters upon completion of the project.

In a statement the Minister gave to local journalists on Tuesday, he said there was a meeting with other African countries in which Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan took part.

An agreement has been reached on some points (unspecified) but he said there was also a difference regarding issues that are said to have a long-lasting impact on the interest of Ethiopia.

Experts from Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Madagascar, and South Africa have participated in the meeting, as confirmed by the Minister. 

Earlier this week, he confirmed that the three countries failed to reach agreement after eleven rounds of latest trilateral talks which the African Union observed. 

Disagreement over the dam

The three countries often say that an agreement is reached on many issues. However, it is confirmed by all parties that it has been difficult to strike a deal on legal and technical points regarding the filling and operation of the dam.

Drought management is said to be one of the contentious points. Pressure to impose a responsibility on Ethiopia to release water from the dam in the event of prolonged drought is part of the reason why it became difficult to reach an agreement.

Experts see no major environmental changes that could affect the water level in the near future. The Associated Press cited Kevin Wheeler, a researcher at the Environmental Change Institute (University of Oxford), who said that the escalating tension and rhetoric has more to do with changing power dynamics in the region rather than water shortage in the near future.

Filling the dam

The issue of filling the dam has become a movement for Ethiopians. The hashtag #FillTheDam and #Itismydam has been trending on twitter.  And Ethiopia has disclosed that it will fill the dam despite no agreement being reached over legal and technical matters.

In the initial phase, Ethiopia aims to fill 4.9 billion cubic meters of water. In the second phase, the dam will retain 13.5 billion cubic meters of water.

Filling up the dam is expected to take between five and seven years.

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  1. This story that alleges the old country has started filling the dam is wrong. What was caught on a satellite image was nothing but Mother Nature doing it usual job. What happens when it rains in buckets(very heavy)? Raging flood ensues, right? What we see lately on many foreign media outlets is a wrongful accusation of those black folks. What do you expect them to do? Force mother nature to stop the rains just because those innocent black folks are scared to death that el-Sisi may send his clunky F16’s and let Dassault Rafales loose on them? Can you see them? They are scared out of their mind that they are seen hiding under their beds. All 114 million of them!!! Did those patriots H.E. Engineer Seleshi and H.E. Gedu tell you that? No? Then stop making it up!!! Nobody started filling the dam and that is the truth and nothing but the whole truth!!!


    This is a typical story being told lately by those who are salivating for a war breaking out between Egypt and Ethiopia. I tell you one assurance that you can it to the bank. If a war breaks out, Ethiopia will never be the one that starts it. Those law abiding and glorious people who produced us all have an indisputable history of not invading any foreign country. They were victims of foreign aggression but never victimize other countries.

    Stop falsifying the reality on the ground.

    O Mother Nature!!!! Keep on what you are doing!!! Rain on!!! Rain on in buckets on that Blessed Country!!!! People there are singing ‘Rain on me!!! Rain on me so I will triumph oven poverty!!! So harmony will rise over hate!!! So there will be middle class shaking and moving over despots!!! Rain on me!!!!!

    • Make that:

      1) I tell you one assurance that you can take it to the bank.
      2) Rain on me so I will triumph over poverty!!!

      That’s all she wrote

  2. Folks!!! Get a load of this!!! When I read this story I fell on the floor laughing out of my mind. The story tells about Egypt’s latest ‘extremely generous’ offer to supply Ethiopia’s dire electricity needs with a whopping 300MW. Hah!!!! What? What? Are you mocking me? Ladies and gentlemen! All the old country needs is 300MW of electricity traveling for more than a thousand miles to electrify every home and every factory now and in the future and it has to pay Egypt just about 2 billion US dollars a year for service charge, not for the electricity. Now I am not laughing because somebody, I said somebody, is trying to insult my Allah given intellect and the intellect of more than 114 million black folks!!!! You can rattle the saber with your panhandled F16’s, Rafales and Su-29’s all day and all night long but you only end up making things worse on yourself when you denigrate those very proud and dignified people.

  3. If Benisjangul Gumuz region and the Amara region claim Article 39 for self determination Oromia will be free.

    The violence will be over for good with Amara Benishangul Gumuz exclusively owning Abay from its source the Lake Tana all the way to GERD making people of those regions the wealthiest and the developed industrial country in the region, so Amaras should consider obeying the current orders and leave Oromia also leave Addis Ababa ,
    it is a win win deal for Oromo and everyoneslse in Ethiopia.
    Afar , Gambella , Somali , Harrari , Southern states , Sidama , Tigrai…. should begin evaluating this only best option left also.


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