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Egypt & Ethiopia End of the Road on the Nile Dam

The Original Title 

No Room for Debate on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam? by Lori Pottinger

GERD is being built in Ethiopia near the Sudan border

International Rivers has been caught in the crossfirebetween Ethiopia and Egypt as they struggle over a large dam being built on the Nile River by Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s government turned its sights on International Rivers after we published a leaked report by the international panel of experts charged with reviewing project documents for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Oursummary of their report describes a number of outstanding concerns raised by the non-binding panel, including the inadequacy of the hydrological-impacts study (a key document for understanding how the dam will affect people and ecosystems downstream).

In response, Ethiopia’s “national panel of experts” (which includes two of the 10 members of the Panel) issued a histrionic statement that claims our organization is backed by “Egyptian financiers,” seeks to prevent Ethiopia from developing, and other provocative and groundless charges. Unhelpfully, their statement does not actually address the concerns raised by the International Panel of Experts (IPoE), nor our summary of them. You can read the IPoE reportand come to your own conclusions.

Ethiopia’s wild allegations have been quite popular with a certain category of internet attack dogs, and these folks aren’t likely to be swayed by what we say here. However, we can state unequivocally: International Rivers does not take funding from any government institution, including Egypt. We are not “taking sides” – we are impartial when it comes to critiquing destructive river projects and poor river management around the globe, including inEgypt and Sudan. The Nile is just one of many basins where conflicts are arising from engineering rivers for a narrow purpose with a limited group of beneficiaries, while a much larger group of people is left to suffer the consequences. These conflicts are exacerbated when transboundary rivers are “developed” for hydroelectricity in isolation and in secrecy. Readers can learn more about our cautions regarding the myriad of dams and diversions planned by many riparian nations along the Nile in our 2003 paper Can the Nile States Dam Their Way to Cooperation?, which presciently noted that poorly planned large dams could worsen tensions over the Nile.

We recognize Ethiopia’s interest in updating the Nile Basin Treaty, support economic development that winnows Ethiopia’s poverty rates, and acknowledge that the Ethiopian Government must chart its own course of development. Our experience as an organization with expertise in hydropower and rivers, and as part of a global civil society movement of dam-affected peoples, leads us to conclude that maintaining healthy rivers and the ecosystems and communities they support is key to long-term prosperity. Our experience studying mega-dams in Africa reveals these projects have consistently failed to reduce poverty, and have been a costly and ineffective solution for increasing access for the millions of people on the continent without reliable access to electricity. We believe a greater focus ondecentralized energy solutions will more quickly, cheaply and effectively begin to close the yawning gap of Africa’s energy poverty.

The GERD Panel concluded a year ago that more studies – some of them quite substantial, but also standard practice for a project of this magnitude – must be undertaken to fully assess GERD’s impacts.  Drawing upon this evaluation by an international team of technical experts, International Rivers has called for a halt to the hurried construction so that critical information on the project’s impacts can be assessed and steps to reduce impacts agreed upon by all nations involved in the dispute.

To the government of Ethiopia, we respectfully submit that the greatest threat to the GERD project is not International Rivers’ publicizing the Panel’s report, but rather the escalation of tensions resulting from the dam’s poor planning process. Such a monumental project should be accompanied by an equally monumental effort to gain acceptance from people who will be affected by it, and a commitment to adopt best practices for managing this important shared river. The next step is to begin the robust studies as called for by the Panel of Experts.

At this writing, Egypt and Ethiopia remain at an impasse while construction of the dam proceeds at a rapid pace. This serious conflict – borne of decades of mistrust between the two nations and controversial treaties over the use of Nile waters – is being enflamed by Ethiopia’s rushed and secretive process. This is what threatens the viability and success of this project. We urge the Nile states to find constructive ways to forge national and regional development strategies that ensure the long-term health of this critically important river, and build resilience to climatic uncertainty.

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GERD Panel of Experts Report: Big Questions Remain

 

 

Construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) – Africa’s biggest hydropower dam – began based on piecemeal preliminary studies and design documents, with only a very basic analysis of how the project would affect downstream neighbors, according to the 2013 final report by an international panel of experts established to evaluate the scheme. The megadam is being built on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, near the Sudan border, and has created conflict with Egypt over its downstream impacts; the experts’ study confirms Egypt’s concerns that the project’s impacts could be significant and are not well understood.

The Ethiopian government reported last year that the panel’s report “showed that the Dam offers high benefit for all the three countries and would not cause significant harm on both the lower riparian countries”, while Egypt has repeatedly said the report calls for more analysis of downstream impacts. Because the report was not made public, neither side could be vetted. Egypt has called for mediation if further studies are not allowed; at this writing, Ethiopia had refused, and was continuing with dam construction.

In March 2014, International Rivers received a leaked copy of the report.  The report documents numerous problems with existing analysis and a lack of analysis on a number of critical issues. The panel recommends further investigation into the dam’s hydrological impacts, including on downstream countries’ water supplies and power generation; risks from climate change, and geotechnical issues. The panel recommends “a full transboundary environmental and social impact assessment … conducted jointly by the three countries.”

The 10-member panel included two members from each of the three riparians (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan), plus four international experts agreed upon by the governments. A geotechnical expert group was added later. The main panel met for about a year, and had four field visits to the dam site. While the panel’s members were granted access to many key project documents (all of which remain confidential at this time), some key reports were not shared with them, including the critical geotechnical assessments for the main and saddle dams, and project cost-benefit analyses.

One international dam expert who has seen the report states that it shows that construction on the project is proceeding on “an aggressively accelerated schedule” with little room for adjusting key elements of dam design to reduce harm or prevent problems. A number of key studies for the project are described by the panel as being outdated or in process. While references are made to some specific international standards being adhered to, overall, the process described seems chaotic and incomplete. It is also clear that there is precious little oversight on Africa’s largest dam project to date. While the international panel has brought a type of oversight, it may be too little, too late – and with too little teeth; it seems the panel does not have a continuing role in ensuring best practices as construction proceeds.

The panel’s report is almost a year old at this writing, yet its members have been mostly silent since their report was completed (as far as we know, none of the panelists have made public statements about the project). The Egyptian and Ethiopian governments continue the war of words, while at the same time construction on the megadam proceeds, and questions raised by the panel remain unanswered.

Going forward, International Rivers recommends construction on the project be halteduntil all necessary studies recommended by the panel are completed, and a process is in place for ensuring public accountability on the project. Given the panel’s findings, Egypt’s call for mediation in the process is reasonable, and donor governments and international bodies should support such a process.

The following summarizes some of the panel’s key findings and recommendations:

 

  • Quality of project documents: The present design criteria are “quite general, and do not include project- and site-specific conditions … The most essential geotechnical, seismological, hydro-geological, hydrological, hydraulic and structural design data should be compiled into a consolidated report and not scattered in numerous design reports.” The project’s main design report is outdated and does not reflect numerous and significant design changes to the project.
  • Safety: “The stability of the main dam and other main structures should be verified under consideration of additional geological and geotechnical findings.”  The panel believes more analysis may be necessary, but without having access to all information on this aspect of the project, cannot be sure. Nonetheless, they do question some assumptions on the project’s “shear strength” and raise concerns about sliding, seepage and other safety issues. “In view of the on-going construction works . . . highest priority shall be given to clarify [dam safety issues] as soon as possible. Structural measures might be needed to stabilize the foundation to achieve the required safety against sliding.” The panel also suggests design modifications for the saddle dam and further studies on the spillway dimensions. The panel recommends that the discharge of the “Probable Maximum Flood” used in the dam design be increased.
  • Downstream changes to water flow: First and foremost, “The (hydrological study) is very basic, and not yet at a level of detail, sophistication and reliability that would befit a development of this magnitude, importance and with such regional impact as GERD.” Project studies looked only at the GERD site. “No upstream developments are taken into account, and no downstream flow records … are given as would be needed to assess downstream impacts.” The panel notes that, “given the proposed upstream cascade development of similar magnitude than the GERD, the upstream flow records could be of significant importance.” The panel notes that the hydrological report uses questionable estimates of evaporation from the reservoir (a key issue in how much water the dam will “use”), and recommends further assessments of evaporation. It also notes that the project did not quantify water losses through deep percolation during reservoir filling. Regarding GERD’s impact on Egypt’s water supply, the panel found that “mass balances represented in the report of water between the GERD and the High Aswan Dam could not be reconciled given the information presented.” The GERD also allows for greater expansion of irrigated cropping in Sudan, which could further reduce flows to Egypt; the panel recommends a detailed study on this issue.
  • Environmental impacts: Surprisingly little information is included on impacts on local people, ecosystems, fisheries or biodiversity. The official Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report was “strictly limited to the impact zones located upstream of the dam site in Ethiopia.” Downstream environmental impacts were not considered as being significant, and therefore several related socio-economic impacts are not addressed. Dam height was chosen without consideration of downstream environmental and socio-economic impacts. The panel recommends a full transboundary impact assessment be done.
  • Climate risks: The panel notes that the project did not assess the project’s sensitivity to climate change. A project of this scale and with such heavy reliance on rainfall patterns requires a better understanding of future hydrologic conditions to ensure the highest degree of flexibility and resiliency in its design and operation. The panel recommends a study that looks at the potential influence of climate change on the flow regime at GERD and further downstream.
  • Sediment and water quality issues: The project did not include an analysis of sediment deposition in the reservoir (a troublesome issue for dams on the muddy Nile). The panel notes that sediment flows downstream of the dam will be substantially reduced, with implications for floodplain farming productivity, navigation, Sudan’s brick industry, riverbank erosion, and biodiversity. The panel also recommends additional studies on water quality changes from the project, particularly on methane gas production and the depletion of dissolved oxygen levels in water releases that could harm fisheries and biodiversity downstream.
  • Dam operations: Very little information on how the dam will be operated was given. At a basic level, both present and future needs for “peaking power versus base power needs to be assessed in more detail,” and “needs to be taken into account in (project) planning and sizing.” The report requests verification of the 6,000MW installed capacity. Furthermore, the Panel does not indicate if the dam was designed in a way to accommodate “environmental flows” (which can be used to mitigate impacts of a dam on a river). In all likelihood this was not considered as the panel writes that “it is not clear whether the present design considers (capacity, functionality) the minimum mean flows of the dry months release to the downstream countries” without use of power generation facilities or the spillway.  It is also clear that consideration of operation of the GERD in coordination with water systems in Egypt and Sudan was at a very preliminary stage during the writing of this report. The report strongly recommends additional studies of the GERD “in the context of the Eastern Nile System” in order to “quantify the downstream impacts in detail with confidence.”

More information:

Download the full report

Ethiopian Government’s official response to the Panel’s findings

Egypt-Ethiopia Nile Dam Talks Hit Dead End

Read our blog on the controversy generated by leaking this report

New tripartite expert committee to be formed to study the Deadly impact of Ethiopian Nile Dam

A committee made up of experts will be formed to oversee the implementation of the recommendations made by the International Committee of Experts to combat the impact of the Grand Ethiopian Deadly Dam.

The announcement by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdul Muttalib comes days after the conclusion of high-level meetings in the Sudanese capital after which it was agreed to hold another meeting in January to discuss some “sticking points”.

Muttalib said last week that he and his Ethiopian and Sudanese counterparts had discussed the implementation of a mechanism to oversee the implementation of the recommendations but provided no further details. The minister announced on Sunday that this mechanism will take the form of a committee made up of an expert representative from each country and will be formed “within two weeks of approval by the ministers.”

The minister said that it had been agreed the committee would have one year to complete its work, starting from the date of its formation. All three countries will bear the cost of the committee.

The ministers agreed that all three countries will share their collected data “required to conduct complementary studies in as timely manner.”  It was also agreed to pass on the studies of the International Committee of Experts to “a select group of global consultancy firms known for their competence and experience.”

Muttalib highlighted that the meeting in Khartoum included a “lengthy debate on the presence of an international element in the work of the commission.” The ministers deferred this decision until their meeting in January, also to be held in the Sudanese capital.

The minister said last week that the meetings had been carried out “in a good spirit”. This is a marked difference from the tension that existed previously, which intensified following a blunder by Egyptian politicians who suggested espionage as a possible solution to the potential impact of the Deadly Dam.

  • ‘Sticking points’ remain following Ethiopian Dam meeting
  • Sudan downplays negative impact of Ethiopian dam project
  • Ethiopian delegation in Cairo for dam talks
  • Nile Talks Highlight Ethiopian, Egyptian Split
  • Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia dam talks ‘successful’

Leaked report sparks disagreement between Egypt and Ethiopia over dam

Mohammed Yahia

A Google Earth map showing the location where the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be built in the Ethiopian Highlands.

When Ethiopia diverted part of the Blue Nile river at the end of May 2013 to begin construction of what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, it sparked outrage from the now ousted Egyptian government, which was concerned the dam would reduce its water supply.

The Blue Nile is one of two main tributaries that feed the Nile River, which supplies 97% of Egypt’s population with water. Ethiopia seeks to abolish a 1929 British mediated colonial-era agreement between Egypt and Sudan that gives 90% of the Nile’s water to the two countries and gives Egypt the right to veto the construction of dams in countries upstream.

In May 2012, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt appointed a panel of experts, with each country appointing two experts, alongside with four experts from non-member countries, to evaluate the environmental impact of the dam on the region. The panel submitted its report on 1 June. Though the report is yet to be published, each government has leaked details of the panel’s findings.

While the Ethiopian ministry of water and energy produced a press release saying the report recommends the building of the dam, the Egyptian state information service contends that the scientific evidence cited by their Ethiopian counterparts either lacked sufficient detail or was out of date.

“While Ethiopia has announced that the dam will have many beneficial effects and no negative ones on the two downstream countries, the final report stressed that the studies and designs presented by Ethiopia had several deficiencies in the methodologies used to produce them. Additionally, some of these studies need to be updated in light of the new information that was collected from laboratory and field work,” read the statement released by the presidency’s office in Egypt.

Risk concerns

 

“Dams are constructed today with much more care to livelihoods and environments.”

 

“There were no sufficient geological studies done. The risk is that the dam might create earthquake zones,” says Elnaser Abdelwahab, former regional software developer of the Nile Basin Decision Support System, a component of the Nile Basin Initiative, which is a partnership setup among the Nile riparian states to handle cross-border issues regarding the river.

Abdelwahab says that the construction of the dam will create a man-made lake in the mountains, which will contain around 74 billion tonnes of water. This lake could lead to seismic activity that could collapse the dam and cause a massive outpouring of water. “The Ethiopians also used optimistic data when considering rainfall rather than using a worst case scenario.”

Abdelwahab, who was not a member of the expert panel but worked with an Ethiopian–Egyptian team to set up the Nile countries’ first water management decision support system, claims that the report included no environmental studies. “This is considered to be an extremely negative point. Dams are constructed today with much more care to livelihoods and environments.”

Tilahun Amede, a researcher on natural resource management at the International Crops Research Institute in Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), says the dam’s design will not be the main factor in the effect it has on the environment and peoples’ livelihoods. “It is also about how the dam is going to be managed and water regulated. It is about protecting the upper watersheds of the dam to increase water yield, reduce siltation and improve overall environmental services.”

When complete, the dam will be one of the world’s tallest at 145 metres and produce 6,000 MW of power, an equivalent of six nuclear power stations. Amede, who was not on the expert panel but has studied water use in Africa for the past four years, says the design and height of the dam means the reservoir will be deep rather than wide to lower evaporation. The cool, humid climate of the Ethiopian highlands should further reduce evaporation, thereby minimizing the amount of water loss from the dam.

All three governments agree that the dam will reduce water flow to downstream countries while the reservoir forms. The reduction in water flow will depend on how fast Ethiopia decides to fill the dam. The original plan aimed to fill the reservoir in three years, but Hailemariam Desalegn, the Ethiopian prime minister, said his government is willing to spend up to six years filling the reservoir to address the concerns of downstream countries.

According to a document released by the Egyptian government, the Ethiopian members of the expert panel failed to present any research on the potential impact on countries downstream in the event of the dam collapsing.

Politics over science

 

“The current rhetoric will do little for the best shared vision of the three countries.”

 

Abdelwahab says he is frustrated that both the Egypt and Ethiopia governments are ignoring scientific evidence and technical information. “[The Nile Basin Decision Support System] contains the necessary computer simulation tools to design and test dam projects before construction. However, the countries did not use it and now they deliver such poor studies with such poor scientific arguments.”

When the panel presented its findings to the three governments behind closed doors, they outlined the need for further research and it was not supposed to be made public until after agreement was reached. However, both Ethiopia and Egypt leaked details, prompting some Egyptian politicians suggesting military intervention could be taken to sabotage the dam’s construction.

Both Abdelwahab and Amede say that the latest political exchanges between the two countries will bring no resolution to the disagreement over building the dam. Instead, they should be collaborating on the science and technical aspects of the dam construction, such as the design to be used and the environmental effects it may have.

“My worry is the current rhetoric will do little for the best shared vision of the three countries,” says Amede. “Given their experience with the Aswan High Dam, the Egyptian government could play a pivotal role in helping Ethiopian engineers ensure that the dam construction and overall management is of high quality and will have no negative effect on Egypt.”

“Unless they consider the dam construction a technical not a political piece of work, I don’t see any resolution to the problem because the politicians will continue to force science out,” adds Abdelwahab.

 

A Tale of Two Dams – Comparing Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance to Hoover

By:  

Lori Pottinger

Hoover Dam's low water exposes a "bathtub ring"

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Hoover Dam’s low water exposes a “bathtub ring”

Once upon a time, massive dams were built on the US West’s mighty Colorado River, bringing scarce Depression-era jobs, water for farms, and electricity for industry. In the fairy tale version of the Hoover Dam story, everyone lived happily ever after. That’s the story that Ethiopia wants us to believe, as it tries to convince the world of the merit of its own “Hoover Dam”– the giant Grand Renaissance Dam, now under construction on the Blue Nile.

But in recent years, the Hoover story has been taking a turn for the worse. A changing climate is wreaking havoc with the largest dam in the United States. The huge dam’s reservoir, which has been dropping for over a decade, is now less than half full. The Colorado River no longer reaches the sea because of the large storage at Hoover and Glen Canyon dams.

Ethiopian engineers recently compared the Grand Renaissance Dam to Hoover as a project that can lift a struggling nation out of poverty, and a project whose accomplishments will go down in history.  Yet the darker lessons from Hoover’s long history might be equally relevant for Ethiopia to review. Consider:

Shrinking electrical output: The Colorado River is in an extended drought, and is likely to see more “megadroughts” as the climate warms. Lower reservoir levels mean less electricity output from large dams. Already at record low levels, Hoover Dam could drop another 13 feet this summer. Researchers at the University of California in San Diego predict that Hoover Dam has a 50% chance of decreasing to a point too low for power generation by 2017, and an equally high chance of going dry by 2021.

Downstream Devastation: The Colorado River Basin has been transformed by its large dams, in both intentional and unintentional ways. Jacques Leslie, author of the remarkable book Deep Watersummarizes some of these impacts: “Take away the Colorado River dams, and you return the silt gathering behind them to a free-flowing river, allowing it again to enrich the downstream wetlands and the once fantastically abundant, now often caked, arid, and refuse-fouled Delta. Take away the dams, and the Cocopa Indians, whose ancestors fished and farmed the Delta for more than a millennium, might have a chance of avoiding cultural extinction. Take away the dams, and the Colorado would again bring its nutrients to the Gulf of California, helping that depleted fishery to recover the status it held a half-century ago as an unparalleled repository of marine life.”

Competition for Water: Just as damming the Colorado has created winners and losers, it has also increasingly created tension over who gets to use its waters. The river is shared by seven states and two countries; other stakeholders include Indian tribes, farming interests, environmental groups and cities. Peter McBride, who has just published a book on the Colorado River conflict, says, “The big question is how we’re going to address it and on whose shoulders that these are going to lie. Basically, it’s going to be those who have money, those that can pay are going to get water.”

There some signs of cooperation in this saga: Mexico, home to the Colorado River’s delta (now mostly a dead zone), will once again see some water flow into its borders. A historic agreementsigned in November 2012 commits both the United States and Mexico to deliver flow back to the Colorado Delta. The agreement calls for a five-year pilot program to increase water flows to restore the lower river and its delta, and increased water to Mexico during droughts. Although the amounts of water called for are less than American and Mexican environmental groups had argued for, they say it’s a good first step, and hope the agreement will become permanent.

Ethiopia is clearly hoping that its huge dam will make history. Yet it’s possible that the Grand Renaissance Dam will face similar problems as its American cousin, and go down in history for all the wrong reasons. If the dam does founder on the shoals of drought and water conflict, it will be harder for a poor nation like Ethiopia to recover. A thorough environmental impact assessment (EIA) might have turned up some answer, but we’re told the project’s EIA is woefully inadequate (it has not been published). The dam’s downstream impacts were so poorly addressed in the original EIA that conflict over the dam began even before an ounce of concrete was poured. Ethiopia finally agreed to allow experts from Sudan and Egypt to join a panel of experts mandated to look at the dam’s impacts on the downstream neighbors, but the process has been flawed and Egypt is calling for more complete studies on the downstream impacts (something that should have been done before construction was begun).

The Hoover Dam was built in a time when we didn’t fully understand the dire consequences of damming off major rivers. Today we do, and large dams such as Hoover would never be built in the US today. In fact, we’re taking down dams to help restore rivers and the communities they support. The megadam model is a dinosaur. Ethiopia would be better off leapfrogging over it to a more modern and efficient system, and find less provocative ways to assert its interests over the Nile waters.


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Morsi ousted planing to attack Syria’s Assad and Ethiopian Dam

By Dr. Webster G. Tarpley

The combination of Morsi’s aggressive designs against Syria, together with some trial balloons from presidential circles about a possible conflict with Ethiopia, plus the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations organized by the National Salvation Front and the Tamarod movement, convinced military leaders that the incompetent and erratic Morsi, who had destroyed his own popularity by selling out to the demands of the International Monetary Fund last November, represented an intolerable risk for Egypt.”

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Convincing evidence suggests that Egypt’s President Mohammad Morsi was ousted from power in a military coup in part because the Egyptian army feared he was plotting to order them to invade Syria in support of the embattled death squad insurgency against the Assad government there.

The combination of Morsi’s aggressive designs against Syria, together with some trial balloons from presidential circles about a possible conflict with Ethiopia, plus the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations organized by the National Salvation Front and the Tamarod movement, convinced military leaders that the incompetent and erratic Morsi, who had destroyed his own popularity by selling out to the demands of the International Monetary Fund last November, represented an intolerable risk for Egypt.

According to the Washington Post, the dissatisfaction of the Egyptian military with Morsi “peaked in June, when Morsi stood by twice as officials around him called for Egyptian aggression against Ethiopia and Syria, threatening to suck Egypt into conflicts that it could ill afford, former military officials said.”

Morsi’s call for Holy War against Assad came just three days after US Secretary of State John Kerry, at a meeting of the Principals’ Committee of the US Government, tried to ram through an immediate bombing campaign against Damascus, but had to settle for the option of arming the Syrian terrorist opposition, leading many observers to conclude that the Egyptian president was acting as part of a US anti-Syrian strategy.

June 15: Morsi Breaks Diplomatic Relations with Damascus

The beginning of the end for Egypt’s first elected president came in mid-June, when he attended a militant Islamist conference “in support of the Syrian uprising” at a 20,000-seat indoor stadium in Cairo. As the packed hall chanted and applauded deliriously, Morsi announced: “We have decided to close down the Syrian Embassy in Cairo. The Egyptian envoy in Damascus will also be withdrawn. The people of Egypt and its army will not leave Syrians until their rights are granted and the new elected leadership is chosen.”

By thus breaking off diplomatic relations with another Arab state, Morsi was joining the dubious company of the NATO-backed puppet regimes in Libya and Tunisia, the only Arabs so far to have called home their envoys from Damascus. And for Cairo, such a move has far greater significance, given that Egypt and Syria were politically united between 1958 and 1961 in a single nation as the United Arab Republic, one of the fruits of President Nasser’s Pan-Arab Socialism.

Using the now familiar Moslem Brotherhood doubletalk, Morsi urged NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Syria – a measure which would entail a bombing campaign of many weeks, with inevitable heavy losses for the Syrian population. But Morsi them shifted his ground to condemn foreign interference in the Syrian conflict, declaiming that “Hezbollah must leave Syria; there is no place for Hezbollah in Syria.” Morsi was accompanied to the anti-Syria rally by his top political affairs and foreign policy advisers, one of them a leading Salafist.

In a crescendo of doubletalk, Morsi intoned: “The Egyptian people have stood by the Lebanese people and Hezbollah against the [Israeli] attack in 2006, and today we stand against Hezbollah for Syria.” According to the Jerusalem Post, he also asserted that Syria was the target of “a campaign of extermination and planned ethnic cleansing fed by regional and international states,” which the Israelis claimed was a veiled reference to Hezbollah and Iran.

Responding to the Cairo anti-Syrian rally, a Syrian government official told the news agency SANA that Morsi had joined the “conspiracy of incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria by announcing the cutting of ties yesterday…. Syria is confident that this decision does not represent the will of the Egyptian people.” This official branded Morsi’s severing of diplomatic relations as “irresponsible… the Syrian Arab Republic condemns this irresponsible position.”

Sunni Extremists Declare Jihad against Syria, Morsi Silent

The Cairo crowd had been warmed up for Morsi by extremist Sunni preachers like Mohammed Hassan and Mohammed Abdel-Maqsoud (leader of the Islamic Legitimate Body of Rights and Reformation), who both ranted about the “necessity of declaring Jihad in Syria, in which Syrians and any capable Moslems shall take part.” There were also calls to Morsi to keep Shiites out of Egypt, on the basis that they are “unclean.” About 1% of Egypt’s population are Shiites, and about 10% are Coptic Christians.

According to the Irish Times, “at the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word ‘infidels’ to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr. Morsi at home. Mr. Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr. Assad…”

On June 13, Morsi had attended a gathering of sectarians from across the Middle East labeling itself “The Position of the Nation’s Scholars on the Developments in Syria.” Here he had rubbed elbows with the fiery preacher Qaradawi, who regularly incites violence against Syria before an audience of some 60 million viewers worldwide on his program entitled “Shariah and Life,” broadcast on the Al Jazeera Arabic service from Qatar. One June 13 there was already much talk of jihad against Syria, which was obliquely endorsed by Morsi’s Presidential Coordinator for Foreign Affairs Khaled al-Qazzaz, who noted that the Egyptian government would not undertake any measures against Egyptian citizens who go to fight in Syria, since the right to travel is always open. It was practically a call for volunteers.

Egyptian Generals Warn Morsi: Army’s Task Is Defending Borders

Egyptian military leaders were deeply concerned about the inevitable radicalization of Islamist militants who might return from waging war against the Assad government in Syria. But they were most immediately alarmed by the idea that Morsi might try to deploy the considerable forces of the Egyptian army against Syria. They quickly distanced themselves from the reckless plan for aggression which the president had been toying with at the June 15 mass rally. As the Irish Timesreported, Morsi’s bellicose bluster lead to “a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.”

According to one anonymous military source reflecting the views of the Army staff quoted by the Irish Times, “the armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conferences at a time the state was going through a major political crisis.” Yasser El-Shimy, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, stressed that from the point of view of the Army, Morsi’s performance at the Syria rally had crossed “a national security red line” by prodding Egyptians to fight abroad, thus threatening to create a new generation of violent jihadists.

Morsi’s anti-Syrian turn was also a deeply unpopular among the top bureaucrats of the Egyptian government, many of whom had advised him not to go down this path, reported Al Ahram Online on June 16. According to this paper, some powerful bureaucrats saw the potential damage as “irreversible,” and viewed the breaking of diplomatic relations as “a decision made by the President against the advice of top bureaucratic aides….” This account also stressed that, by praising the mediation efforts of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, but by pointedly excluding Iran, Morsi was jettisoning the four power contact group he himself had proposed for a Syrian settlement at the nonaligned conference in Tehran last August. “This would simply mean that Egypt has decided that its relations with Tehran would have to be sacrificed in favor of winning the support of Washington, and maybe even Riyadh,” said one source quoted by Al Ahram.

Egypt’s Generals Fear “Devastating Sunni-Shiite War”

These developments were considered extremely ominous by top Egyptian civil servants. As Al Ahram wrote, “Egypt, according to concerned quarters in Egyptian bureaucracy, is now being driven to take part in a ‘devastating Sunni-Shiite war’ that could wreck the entire region. The concern is not just about Syria, but about the entire Arab Mashraq, including Lebanon and Iraq particularly. Al Ahram pointed to a possible additional venal motive for Morsi and his controllers in the Muslim Brotherhood: “Egypt has been trying to break the ice with Saudi Arabia for a few weeks now in the hope of soliciting desperately needed financial aid. Saudi Arabia has been adopting a strictly sectarian approach towards developments in Syria since the beginning of the uprising there, and all the more so since the entrance of Hezbollah into the war in Syria on the side of the Assad regime.”

In a country like present-day Egypt, a coup d’état should not be undertaken lightly. But one consideration which might justify such coup is the urgent need to prevent an erratic and incompetent ruler like Morsi from embroiling the country in a ruinous foreign war. To be able to respond to Morsi’s war talk in such a timely and decisive way, the Egyptian army must contain officers of exceptional intelligence and determination, gifted with that quality which Machiavelli called virtu and von Clausewitz called Entschloßenheit. (Since the firing of General Douglas MacArthur in 1951, this quality has been largely extinct from the US officer corps.) We may thus be justified in hoping that the great tradition of President Nasser is alive among Egyptian military and government leaders.

Leftists See Morsi as Cat’s Paw For US Against Syria

The leftist April 6 Movement (aka Democratic Front) suggested that Morsi was acting as a tool of the US campaign against Syria, saying in a statement that “The decision to open the doors of jihad is coming from Washington sponsored by … Salafist Sheikhs.” The anti-Morsi umbrella organization Tamarod added that “Morsi’s speech reveals that the Syria file has been handed over from Qatar to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and that Morsi is answering America’s instructions.”

The fateful rally attended by Morsi was backed by the Asala Party, a Salafist group, by a number of prominent Salafist preachers, by the Islamic Legitimate Body of Right and Reformation, and by the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, meaning Morsi’s own controllers. Another sponsor was the Gama Islamiya movement.

As Morsi encountered more and more hostility from centrists and leftists, he attempted during the last phase to gain backing from Salafist and other doctrinaire and holier-than-thou forces to his right. This included the appointment of the “retired terrorist” al Khayat of Gama Islamiya as the governor of Luxor province, the site of the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Karnak, and one of the greatest international tourist destinations. In 1997, a terrorist action had resulted in the deaths of almost seventy foreign tourists, who were killed deliberately as part of a campaign designed to discourage foreign infidels from coming into Egypt. Khayat was a member of the political arm of Gama Islamiya, and his appointment was hardly designed to encourage tourism.

Post-Qusayr Climate of Imperialist Desperation

Since the fall of the Syrian rebel stronghold of Qusayr on June 5, aggressive circles including Cameron and Hague of the British Tory regime, the Vichy socialists Hollande and Fabius, the Israelis, the US neocon faction, and Secretary Kerry have been pressing for immediate military action against Syria to save the international terrorist forces from as far away as Chechnya and Afghanistan who now face looming defeat. These efforts have included an attempted cold coup or palace coup by Kerry in the June 12 meeting of the White House Principals’ Committee, when his demand to start bombing Syria was blocked by a combination of military figures and Obama loyalists, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey. For the aggressors, the essential problem is the refusal thus far by Obama to launch a large-scale bombing campaign with several hundred aircraft, followed in all likelihood of by an invasion requiring several armored and infantry divisions – resources which the United States simply cannot afford.

The aggressive forces have attempted to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. They have also supported the limited hangout around purported NSA leaker Edward Snowden, whose short-term effect has been to weaken Obama’s support from his own liberal base, as well as to undercut his ties to NATO Europe, making the White House more susceptible to Anglo-French pressure for war. Attempts have been made to goad Turkey into an attack on Syria, but the embattled Erdogan regime is now determined not to get out in front on this project.

With the failure of the anti-Syrian Egyptian gambit, London, Paris, Tel Aviv, the neocons, and Foggy Bottom must now be on the verge of total hysteria. These are the circumstances in which recourse to a new Gulf of Tonkin incident or a new false flag terror attack to be blamed on Syria, Hezbollah, and their allies becomes a clear and present danger.

Morsi Cronies Discuss Striking Ethiopia

Egyptian military is not anxious to undertake armed interventions abroad. One exception was Egypt’s participation in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. But since then, Egypt has declined US requests to send troops to fight in Afghanistan in 2001, and any Iraqi been 2003.

In the spring of this year, tensions rose between Egypt and Ethiopia when the government in Addis Ababa announced its intention to build a dam on the Blue Nile, prompting concerns by some in Egypt about future water supplies downstream. On June 2, with Morsi in attendance, Islamist politicians recklessly discussed how to sabotage the dam by funding Ethiopian rebel groups, followed by an attack by the Egyptian air force. Unknown to the participants, this incendiary discussion was broadcast on live television. Many were long to see that Morsi did not repudiate these proposals for naked aggression, but instead later commented that “all options are open.”

Activists are Mobilizing around the world against the Ethiopian “Death dams”

 

Our efforts to stop the Ethiopian Dictatorial Death Dams have started giving fruits internationally while in Ethiopia it is in the very embryonic state.

Recently the Chileans struggle to stop the damming the Andes- Patagonia and that of the Turkish anti dam revolt have given a hope to the people of the horn of Africa. In Kenya the manifestation against the dams is permitted officially while in Ethiopia it a crime against the regime of   Melese Zenawie, nobody even consider criticizing   rather than blindly supporting his megalomaniac Dams of destructions. China after destroying the region of the three dams has come to destroy the only sources of live water in Easter Africa by proposing and financing these death dams to Ethiopian dictator. Resistance is coming from around the world to resisting these destructive dams.

Here is the a recent article on CBS world watch on the Negative effect of the damming in Ethiopia written by Celia Hatton of CBS  which reads as follows:-

“It’s a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.

The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia’s powerful Omo River, using
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————

Nile has become an arm for Melese’s Zneawie’s “Millennium Death Dam” against Sudan and Egypt

The Ethiopian dictator covered under the umbrella of the Social Tsunami that engulfed  the Arabic world especially Egypt lunched in human Dam constructions which will completely dry up the Nile river. According to the Ethiopian dictator Melese Zenawie the most gigantic dam will be built on the Nile which will cease the Nile from flowing to Egypt permanently.  This will create artificial lake two times more than the actual size of Lake Tana which over 200KM wide.  This is a dictatorial night mare of the new horn of Africa’s Water Emperor.  Such gigantic dam will provoke stop definitively the annual flood of the Nile which the Egyptian farmers ritually wait every year for their farm since for the last 13’000 years. Such  an  inhuman dam not only destroy the environment definitively  but also will risk the population of  Khartoum and Cairo due  in an expected earth quake on the  volcanic highland plateau of the Horn of Africa. The region is stated on the two active moving plates on the moves permanently to create the news ocean of the world.

Melese Zenawi Death Millennium Dam will collapse  and risk down stream riparians on the  coming   minimum movement of the Eastern Africa Plates:

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Yesterday the Afar region was taken by an Earth Quake:-

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6sCcVT8tK0

On March 31 st Magnitude 4.6 – ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION

Magnitude4.6
Date-Time
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 18:33:37 UTC
  • Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 09:33:37 PM at epicenter
  • Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location13.129°N, 41.892°E
Depth3.2 km (2.0 miles) (poorly constrained)
RegionERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
Distances
  • 92 km (57 miles) W (279°) from Assab, Eritrea
  • 218 km (136 miles) NW (321°) from DJIBOUTI, Djibouti
  • 222 km (138 miles) SSW (212°) from Al Hudaydah, Yemen
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 11.9 km (7.4 miles); depth +/- 46.5 km (28.9 miles)
ParametersNST= 31, Nph= 31, Dmin=314 km, Rmss=0.93 sec, Gp=122°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=5
Source
  • USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDus2011jdbx

Melese Zenawie fearing the coming social Tsunami that took Hosni Mubarak tries to deter the attention of the Ethiopians with a new conflict with Egypt. His recent declaration to take over Eritrea did not change the position of the Ethiopian against his regime. The recent intervention in Somalia to fight Al Qaida like his friend in Libya Gaddafi did not have any world attention to him too. The dictator not only in the Nile he is caught in the whirlwind of dam constructions even in the most fragile rift valley of the Omo River.  It is a high time to stop such mad man from committing in human catastrophe in the region which is comparable or worth than the resent Japanese Tsunami and earth Quake, by inundating Khartoum and Cairo. In the first phase the dame will cease the flow of the Nile for more than three or four years the time to fill the gigantic dam. This will suck all the water from Lake Tana.  In the 2nd phase any movement in the Eastern Africa plates will create will bust the dame risking the lives of millions in downstream cities like Khartoum, Cairo… by artificial flood wiping out everything down river.

The world body must intervene to stop the water dictator from creating artificial catastrophe by the Ethiopian mad man Melese Zenawie who lost his brain in the most fragile part of the world. His main objective is to sell maximum of land for the grabbers by promising them water for irrigation. Such irrigation will stop the flow of the river definitively.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQrHM5KexZM

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wj44-9mT9s

Great Millennium Nile Dam/ታላቁ የሚሊኒየም ግድብ

4 min – 1 day ago – Uploaded by lovenium
Ethiopia to construct the Great Millennium Nile Dam with an estimated cost of 80 billion Birr. Ethiopian Government would fully 

MOT 1935: Animated MAP OF ETHIOPIANile

1 Jan 2007
MOT 1935: Animated MAP OF ETHIOPIANile River highlighted. Proposed dam just SE of Lake Tana.

Nile Conflict: Ethiopia vs Egypt (ኢትዮጵያ ፀረ ግብጽ 

4 min – 16 Jan 2011 – Uploaded by EthioArbenya
Meles Zenawi warns Egypt off Nile war ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) — Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia over the River Nile

The Nile – Ethiopia & Egypt 5/5

7 min – 14 Mar 2010 – Uploaded by Axumite Empire

Nile in Egypt runs in Ethiopia, water wars, Egypt 

8 min – 28 May 2010 – Uploaded by baymillermom
Israel news clip that says Nile river runs from Egypt ,Sudan down toEthiopiaEthiopia has more of Nile in its country but 

NILE DEBATE EMPHASIZES CONSERVATION, WATER SHARING (East African Form)

MARCH 30, 2011

 

YEHEYES WUHIB

“President Anwar Sadat once famously threatened Ethiopia with war if Addis Ababa diverted water out of the Nile basin into other areas of Ethiopia.”

Professor Richard Tutwiler of the American University in Cairo says potential projects in Ethiopia and Sudan could help preserve Nile waters

THE NILE RIVER IS A MAIN SOURCE OF WATER FOR MANY COUNTRIES

The Nile is the world’s longest river, spanning a distance of almost 6,600 kilometers.

It is formed from the White Nile, which originates in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, and the Blue Nile, which begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The two rivers meet in Sudan and travel northwards, flowing through Egypt and seven upstream countries before finally emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.

Water use issues have long been a source of contention among the Nile Basin countries, who disagree on what is an equitable distribution of the river’s waters. For decades the answer to that question has been determined by an agreement that’s recently re-negotiated and that could alter the historic water-sharing arrangements for the Nile.

Entitled the Cooperative Framework Agreement, it was signed in late February by Burundi, which joins other countries — Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda – that are seeking what they consider a more equitable share of the river waters.

Egypt, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are still mulling over the framework’s provisions.

The accord was prepared during 11 years of negotiations among nine of the 10 countries in the basin. Eritrea did not participate directly in these negotiations but did serve as an observer. Last May, the document was put forward for signature by the participating governments.

Richard N. Tutwiler, a research professor and director of the Desert Development Center at the American University in Cairo, says with Burundi’s signing, the countries can move on to ratification.

ARTICLE 14B

After the sixth signature, says Tutwiler, the agreement stipulates the formation of a commission among the Nile Valley countries to review water control projects along the river basin.

World Bank (Arne Hoel)
FISHERMAN ON THE WHITE NILE (MORADA). KHARTOUM, SUDAN.

“We can expect things might start happening in terms of this commission as early as May of this year,” says Tutwiler.

Egypt and Sudan have reservations about the cooperative framework agreement. “In particular,” says Professor Tutwiler, “article 14 of the agreement is very much in dispute,” especially between downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and the other countries.

The issue is water security.

Article 14b does not recognize the historic right of Egypt to 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile’s waters, as did the 1959 treaty.

“[Egypt does not] have the power to turn on or turn off the tap of the Nile,” says Tutwiler. “So it is important to point out that Egypt has been lobbying very hard at the negotiating table and with international bodies to define water security so as to maintain the same amount of water it is receiving now and looking to the future as it moves forward.”

RULES OF RATIFICATION

Professor Tutwiler says ratification is a two stage process. Once governments sign the treaty, it must be ratified by the legislature. Out of the nine Nile basin countries, six have signed.

VOA – E. Arrott
IN EGYPT THE NILE HAS ALLOWED AGRICULTURE TO FLOURISH FOR MILLENIA.

Egypt and Sudan have announced they don’t intend to sign the present document in its present form. The DRC is still undecided, but most people think it will sign by May, which, according to Tutwiler, “is the one-year period for signature from the time the document was introduced.”

In the second stage, national legislatures must ratify the agreement. For each country, the process is slightly different, says Tutwiler.

“The idea is if six countries ratify, at least [in those countries] the agreement becomes the legislative law in operation. In other words, among the ratifying countries, they have agreed that it will be a governing document for relations among themselves in terms of cooperation regarding water use,” explains Tutwiler.

“As far as Egypt is concerned,” Tutwiler says, “it does not agree, [even though] if six signed, by default it is bound by the agreement.”

But according to al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt’s assistant foreign minister for African Affairs, Mona Omar, said the new accord is non-binding because Egypt has not signed. An official spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, Essam Khalifa, says the issue can be amicably resolved “with a little bit of understanding regarding the needs of the conflicting parties.”

NILE RIVER TREATIES

The treaty of 1929, between Egypt and then-colonial power Britain, was among the first to govern waters in international river basins. It gave Egypt permission to build whatever projects it liked along the Nile without the consent of other parties, while allowing Cairo to veto up-stream projects that could threaten its share of water.

NILE WATERS FROM ETHIOPIA HELP SUSTAIN EGYPTIAN LIVESTOCK

But Tutwiler points out that post-colonial governments do not recognize it as binding. Tutwiler says the 1959 treaty is recognized as definitive. It guaranteed Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters of water per year, and Sudan 18.5 billion. The treaty was used as the basis for the agreement between Khartoum and Cairo to build the Aswan dam, which flooded a large part of northern Sudan.

He says none of the upstream countries, such as Uganda, Tanzania, or Ethiopia, recognize the 1929 agreement as valid.

WATER WARS

President Anwar Sadat once famously threatened Ethiopia with war if it diverted water out of the Nile Basin into other areas of Ethiopia. Tutwiler says, “By and large Ethiopia has not done that, although they have talked about it and have various projects on the drawing board.”


PRESIDENT ANWAR SADAT

But Tutwiler says Egypt has. “Egypt has taken water out of the Nile and put it across the Suez Canal and into the Sinai, which is not geographically speaking part of the Nile Basin,” he says.

“Ethiopia was very quick to point that out. This was almost 40 years ago, and not since Sadat has Egypt ever threatened Ethiopia in the same way with military action,” she says.

The difficulty of taking military action within the Nile Basin very much work against any real military action, says Tutweiler. Much of the terrain is harsh and Egypt is limited in the reach of its air power. But he says there’s room for recourse to diplomatic and economic actions and solutions.

FOCUS ON SUDAN

Tutwiler says many observers are watching Sudan.

In January, southern Sudanese voted for independence. “The creation of a new southern Sudan state changes the whole equation,” Tutwiler says. So far, the government of southern Sudan has not actually articulated a Nile Basin policy.

Most observers assume that southern Sudan would not want to give up any water that passes through its territory.

A proposed canal could mitigate Nile waters lost in the swamps of southern Sudan

According to Tutwiler, one of the major historical issues regarding Sudan has been a project first proposed by the British in 1904 to build a very long canal in southern Sudan. The world’s largest fresh water swamp is in southern Sudan and half of the Nile water flows from equatorial Africa into that swamp and, he says, “evaporates before it can move on northward to the White Nile.”

The idea of the project is to dig a canal called the Jongeli Canal around the swamp to divert the water flowing to the swamp into the canal. Tutwiler says the project could save up to eight million cubic meters of water from evaporation that could then be used in northern Sudan and on into Egypt.

“Egypt of course would like to have the canal built. They have already started discussion with north and south Sudan on the issue,” Tutwiler says.

So far, the southern Sudanese are not saying they are for it or against it. For now they say it is not a major priority for them because they have a nation to build.

“But one suspects that they would not like to divert that water from the swamp, because in fact southern Sudanese people who live there depend on the swamp for much of their livelihood,” says Tutwiler.

“These people are cattle herders and they need the water. The swamps provide grazing land. If the swamps were to be drained,” Tutwiler says, “those people would suffer economically.”

Southern Sudanese seem not to be interested in pursuing the project and, according to Tutwiler, it might cause problems between them and the northern Sudanese, allied with Egypt.

FUTURE OF THE NILE

Tutwiler says Egyptians are always worried about the future of the Nile, the country’s main supply of fresh water.

“Egyptian concerns are real and well founded,” says Tutwiler. He adds that Cairo’s position for now will be to focus on the question of water security, which is the bone of contention in the current draft agreement.

As far as the states in the region are concerned they will try to persuade the Egyptians that they are also committed to the notion of equitable use of the Nile waters.

THE NILE SUPPORTS EGYPT’S VITAL FISHING INDUSTRY

Egypt is focused on maintaining the current arrangement.

“Their position essentially is, ‘If you leave us to keep 55.5 billion cubic meters of water, we will live within that envelope.’” Tutwiler says, “That will not be easy for the Egyptians because every year the population grows. In fact, every three weeks there is another 100 thousand net gain in the population and the water stays the same,” asserts Tutwiler.

WATER SCARCITY

The United Nations says water scarcity exists when a country goes below the national average of 1000 cubic meters per person per year. Egypt needs 80 billion cubic meters of water a year just to avoid water scarcity. Tutwiler says, “Egypt has long passed that threshold because it doesn’t have anywhere near that amount of water for 80 million people.”

Tutwiler says Egypt is making what he calls an admirable effort to develop a strategy to conserve and recycle water and live within its means.

REUTERS
THE UN SAYS A COUNTRY IS EXPERIENCING WATER SCARCITY IF ITS PEOPLE RECEIVE BELOW 1000 CUBIC METERS PER PERSON PER YEAR.

“I think the other countries will probably try to persuade Egypt that whatever specific project that are being proposed will not substantially harm Egypt’s interests, and this I think will be what they will try to say to keep the Egyptians involved in the discussions as cooperators and partners in the basin,” says Tutwiler.

He adds that the Egyptians are willing to discuss those issues in good faith but still are going to think in terms of a kind of bottom line, which is their water security.

ETHIOPIA’S BLUE NILE

Eighty percent of the Blue Nile flows from Ethiopia and reaches the Aswan Dam on the border of Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia is the key as far as Egypt is concerned

Lately, Ethiopia has undertaken an ambitious program of dam construction in parts of the Nile basin located in its territory. The country has a deficit of power, and most of these dams produce electricity, although some have small irrigation components.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
HYDROPOWER AND WATERS FOR IRRIGATION FROM THE NILE COULD HELP DEVELOP RURAL ETHIOPIA

Some studies indicate that properly managed hydro-power dams in Ethiopia could benefit Egypt with more water. “You cannot generate electricity in a hydro-dam unless you let the water through the dam,” explains Tutwiler.

“Secondly,” Tutwiler says, “if you build up a head [of stored water behind the dam] to generate electricity, then in effect you are storing water in Ethiopia where you don’t have nearly as much evaporation as you would in Lake Nasser in the Sahara desert in Egypt and northern Sudan.”

The Blue Nile in Ethiopia is a seasonal river. Most of the water accumulates in the monsoon season between June and September. “By building hydro dams Tutwiler says, “You can actually reduce the effects of flooding and even out the water flow throughout the year.”

This in turn benefits Egypt in terms of the amount of water it can use. According to Tutwiler, it is a kind of ecological balance between, hot season, rainy season, cooler temperatures and hotter temperatures.

WHAT TO DO

“There are many technical solutions as well as developmental projects that can be implemented to improve the ecological balance of the Nile basin,” says Tutwiler.

In the case of Egypt, there is much that can be done to save and reuse water. Tutwiler says Egyptians are actually very much in line with improving their water use efficiently.

Upstream, where the water is generated by rainfall, it’s a different story.

In Ethiopia Tutwiler says, “The watersheds over the last hundred years have suffered a great deal of degradation primarily to deforestation and bad agricultural practices that have created more erosion.”

Tutwiler says the Ethiopian National Water Resources Management Plan has adopted a strategy to try to revitalize a lot of the watershed eco-system so more water can be retained in the soil and in the geology of the Ethiopian highlands.

This would ultimately benefit the downstream countries, because more water would be saved in an ecological and environmentally friendly way with less water lost to run-off or evaporation.

THE CHINA CONNECTION

Tutwiler says politics are changing for the Nile countries. He says as in other African countries, many Nile nations are becoming more stable, and gaining more control over their national territory.

“Ethiopia is a good case in point,” says Tutwiler. “Since the 1970s, after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, we had prolonged civil wars and instability, and now for almost 20 odd years Ethiopia has had relative stability.

The country is starting to develop. With all these projects in Ethiopia, such as hydro-power plants, the electricity grid extending outwards, water and sanitation improving, society seems to be progressing economically, though maybe not as fast as they should.”

Tutwiler says, “It is the same in Uganda. The country went through a long period of instability and is now starting to firm up and to make progress.”

He says there’s also a great deal of international interest in foreign investment in the Nile basin region today.

Tutwiler says one of the big players in the Nile basin is China, which is helping finance and build dams in Sudan and Ethiopia.

“Previously,” Tutwiler says, “these large dam projects could only be refinanced through institutions like the World Bank. The World Bank used to use its policy to mediate among competing interests in the basin. Now all that has been replaced by the Chinese.”

11:03

Ethiopian Millennium Hydroelectric Project Report

Breaking  Death Dams

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Millennium Dam will break in the following wise:- Let us learn and stop damming

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Ethiopian Tectonic Dam overrun and destroyed farms and lives as predicted Prof. Muse Tegegne

270'000 Ethiopians menaced by deluge

Gebe I an Ethiopian   dam built on Eastern Africa’s separating tectonic plates without any geological survey has been over run as predicted and destroyed many farm lands with the loss of unknown number of human and animal lives.  A dam constructed with a simple order of the ruling dictator   has started costing lives and farms. The undetermined number of Omotic population killed like that of the 2006 floods. Such forced runoff will precipitate the eventual collapse of dams within 24 months after the flood creating a slope gradient of the soil surface near the gully as the recent studies predict in 40 % of the case.

The news passed in silence in a country where the regime does not tolerate critics when it comes to its megalomaniac constructions. In Ethiopia writing any article concerning the deadly dams is a taboo in a country where almost all the independent media are closed and the remaining journalists are fleeing. And the foreign independent Medias are not allowed to go and see and report, since dam construction has brought too much critic to the ruling dictator in the recent days. The only article about the looming catastrophe is a government media recently published in Amharic in order to keep it from international attention. The government gave the following biased information by the government controlled media Reporter   on 25 August 2010.  The governmental organ The Reporter   did not even care for the human and animal lives but on the generator which they claimed that “it will cost over 20Million”. They claimed “it was burned out by the mass flow of uncontrolled water.”   The main objective of such   disinformation is to hide the main cause of destruction which is high rain on the Ethiopian altitude and the tectonic movement which is active in the region.

The article gives contradictory statements that the water was released from the dam by the  electricians, at the same time it is reported that  the water over  run the dam due to the mass rain fall. The release of water in upstream by Gibe I could have a catastrophic repercussion on Gibe II and Gibe III which is not yet finished.

The dead bodies only would be found in downstream near and  around lake Turkana  as that  of the 2006 dam water release  incident in the tectonic death dams:-

“The death toll from flash floods in Ethiopia rose Monday after police reported an unknown number of bodies had been found in the country’s southwest, where 364 deaths have already been confirmed. The discovery of bodies on a remote delta in the flood-ravaged Omo River valley near the shores of Lake Turkana, on the Ethiopian-Kenyan border, came as authorities stepped up evacuation warnings in low-lying areas nationwide. ” Terra Daily Aug 21, 2006

This time year the government did not even issue a warning with the increasing flood all over the Ethiopian Highlands which left over 270000 people homeless.  This year all dams around Ethiopia are threatened.  The massif rain fall has flooded huge areas in the southwest, Koka dam on the Awash River in the east, and the Tise Abby on the Blue Nile in the north.

In Ethiopia like the flood 2006 hundred thousand farmlands   has been flooded due to the heavy rains that pounded the region.

This year the monsoon rain has been heavy in Ethiopia as that of the Pakistan and China. The different is the Ethiopian highland plateau drains the water faster to the lowland valley in Omo and Afar regions menacing the dams, where in Asia the water floats.  Heavy rain land slide and flooding will deteriorate the existing famine in the country.  The Ethiopian famine is not only the outcome drought but also heavy rain in the harvest   season which wipes out the farmlands and the mismanagement of the consecutive regimes which came to power in the country. The present regime perpetuates to existent to use it as a source of income to stay in power. The group  in power today had used in the past the Band Aid internationally raised fund by Bob  Geldof in 1984/85  to buy arms at the expense of the starving  millions.

The Ethiopian high land plateau is flooded once again and most of the rain in the south and east will storm the dams in the Gebe and Awash Rivers found the rift valley.  Today asking people who live around the dams to move to higher ground to take precautionary measures, as the rain in the highlands is increasing and dams start over flooding with  water beyond their capacity is not enough as prevention measures. The best solution is to find the main cause of over flooding, which is so called the government flood control method created by pyramidal dams.  The Ethiopian Dictator has to stop constructing them on such sliding land moving ground like that of Omo, since the region is situated in moving plates of the Eastern African Rift valley. One would not try to connect two separating plates by dam which will end up cracking and in the end will bust causing millions of lives down streams, unless you are a dictator and you have the world at your disposal.

Ethiopian Water Dictator Melese Zenawie promised to export electricity to Kenya, Sudan, and Djibouti in September 2010 after the rains and   at the cost of the lives of the riparian population. The dictator forgot in his formula two equations:-

– One the riparian population that he calls insects or butter flays considered as dispensable,

-two  the floods and the sliding soil  which is out of his personal control  or with that of  China which could not even control  its own dams,   flood and sliding mud.

Melese Zenawie’s promised amounts were: — 230 kilovolt to Djibouti, 500 megawatts of electricity to Kenya & 200 megawatts to Sudan.

These promises are built on sinking sands seeing the geological situation of the moving plates creating a new ocean in the horn of Africa at the site where the Pharaoh is constructing his dooms day pyramidal dams.

The final solution would be to Stop Damming and start making alternative energy. Most of all start satisfying ones won needs before even thinking to export. The hypothetical electrical megawatts   offers to the neighboring countries is  just a pretext by the ruling Dictator to galvanize  funds from financial institutions like  African development  and World Banks,  that  have already  started to be  skeptical  to these megalomaniac  catastrophic dams of the Ethiopian Water Dictator.

Ethiopia: At least 19 killed as heavy floods hit Ethiopian lowlands

(VOA)

Ethiopia: Floods displace thousands in Afar and Amhara regions

Oromia under water 30/08/2010

Wolo Land Sliding killed 37, 26/08/2010



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U.N. says 270,000 at risk as floods loom in Ethiopia

30 Aug 2010 17:03:00 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Barry MaloneADDIS ABABA, Aug 30 (Reuters) – More than a quarter of a million Ethiopians are risk from severe flooding next month when heavy rain is expected in the country, according to government estimates issued by the United Nations on Monday.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 19 people were killed in mudslides after flooding last week and nearly 12,000 people had been displaced since then.

“Some 270,000 people could be affected by flooding in the (Amhara region),” OCHA said in a statement, quoting a contingency plan issued by regional authorities.

Flooding often affects Ethiopia’s lowlands during the rainy season between June and September. In 2006, more than 1,000 people were killed and more than 300,000 made homeless.

“New flooding has been reported in recent days, including in the eastern Amhara lowlands and in northern Somali Region,” it said.

The plan says $6.8 million would be needed to respond to such an emergency.

The country’s disaster management office gave a lower estimate, saying 153,000 people were likely to be affected by next month’s floods, of whom 25 per cent could lose their homes.

“Good contingency planning needs to be in place,” an aid worker monitoring the flooding told Reuters. “According to data from the meteorological office, the heavy rains will continue through September.”

Almost 5,000 people who fled to higher ground are now stranded and inaccessible to local authorities, according to the OCHA statement.

Significant flooding damages the country’s agriculture-based economy, washing away thousands of cattle, ruining crops and submerging roads. (Reporting by Barry Malone; editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Dobbie)

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INTERVIEW-Ethiopia rejects dam criticism, targets 10,000 MW

02 Sep 2010 15:12:50 GMT

Source: Reuters
By Barry Malone
ADDIS ABABA, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Ethiopia on Thursday rejected criticism of its massive hydropower dam projects and vowed to push ahead with plans to boost its power generating ability from 2,000 MW to 10,000 MW within five years.

The Horn of Africa nation’s ambitious dam building programme has drawn fire from human rights groups as well as from Egypt and other Nile River countries.

“We have a plan to reach 10,000 MW within the coming five years,” mines and energy minister, Alemayehu Tegenu, told Reuters in an interview.

“Most of the energy we plan to generate will come from hydropower.”

Ethiopia is overwhelmingly reliant on dams for its energy needs and has opened three over the last year, bringing the total number in the country to seven.

Another two are being built, including the huge Gibe III — a project that foreign charities say could leave more than 200,000 people reliant on food aid.

Rights groups, spearheaded by Survival International, have started an online campaign against the dam, which would generate 2,000 MW, and are lobbying international lenders not to contribute to its 1.4 billion euro ($1.79 billion) cost.

“These organisations do not want Ethiopia to develop,” Alemayehu said.

“Criticising countries like Ethiopia is their source of income. They have no reason to attack our dams. We have environmental and social plans in place.”

The European Investment Bank (EIB) said last month that it had decided not to help fund the project but did not say why it had made that decision.

Alemayehu said it was possible the EIB had been pressured by rights groups.

“But I don’t know their reason,” he said. “It’s not a big problem for us. We have other options. And the funding at the moment is coming from our government.”

“NO NILE WAR”

Ethiopia’s hydropower plans are also closely watched by Egypt and Sudan who fear more dams on Ethiopia’s stretch of the Nile could leave them thirsty.

After more than a decade of talks driven by anger over the perceived injustice of a previous Nile water treaty signed in 1929, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya signed a new deal in May without their northern neighbours.

The five signatories have given the other Nile Basin countries — Egypt, Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo — one year to join the pact but the countries have been split by behind-the-scenes rows since the signing.

Under the 1929 deal, Egypt, which faces water shortages by 2017, is entitled to 55.5 billion cubic metres a year, the lion’s share of the Nile’s flow of 84 billion cubic metres. Some 85 percent of the Nile’s waters originate in Ethiopia.

The nine countries are due to meet again in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in November.

“What we will construct on the river will never cause any problems for the Egyptians,” Alemayehu said. “But the Egyptians always stand against Ethiopian development. They need to understand better what we are planning.”

Alemayehu, however, ruled out the possibility that war could erupt over the Nile.

“That will never happen,” he said. “Never.”

Ethiopia plans to export power to neighbouring Sudan, Djibouti and Kenya as soon as it meets its own growing energy needs, Alemayehu said.

Ethiopia rationed power for five months this year with outages every second day, which closed factories, hampered exports and fuelled a currency shortage.

“We should have no need to ration power in 2011 with our new dams,” Alemayehu said. “We are now building interconnectivity infrastructure with Sudan and Djibouti and that should be finished within six months.”

Power demand in Africa will rise by 150,000 MW between 2007 and 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.

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The Gibe III dam: Over before it has begun?PrintE-mail
Written by Hannah Gibson (1)
Thursday, 02 September 2010 08:09
Energy shortfalls in Ethiopia have long been a problem, with frequent outages and reduced developmental capacity due to unreliable power supplies. The Ethiopian Government has therefore turned to large-scale hydroelectric power in an attempt to tackle the problem. As of 2010, five major hydroelectric projects are underway in the country, with more still in the planning stage.

Gibe III is a hydropower project which, on completion, will comprise the tallest dam in Africa. The building of Gibe III however has been surrounded by controversy, mainly due to environmental and human rights concerns. The environmental impact of the dam and its associated reservoir is expected to be significant and thousands of people who live in the region will need to be relocated. Although construction of the dam has already begun, the project has not yet secured full funding and, under pressure from campaigners, some of the building work has been suspended. This discussion paper explores the issues relating to the hydro-electric projects on the Gilgel Gibe River in southern Ethiopia, focusing on Gibe III.

A background to the project: Gibe I and Gibe II

The Gibe hydropower project comprises a series of dams located along the Omo River in southern Ethiopia. The Omo River flows from an area approximately 300km southwest of Addis Ababa and on into Lake Turkana in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, and the Gilgel Gibe River is a tributary of the Omo River. Plans to develop the hydroelectric potential of the Gilgel Gibe River were first announced in the 1980s. Construction of the Gilgel Gibe plant started in 1986 and was completed in 2004, resulting in the Gibe I dam. The plant became Ethiopia’s largest power plant with a capacity of 184 megawatts, enough to power over 123,000 homes.(2)

However, from the outset however it was clear that the electricity generated by Gibe I would not be sufficient for Ethiopia’s growing power needs. The second phase of the development of the Gibe hydropower potential saw the introduction of the Gibe II plant. Located approximately 2 kilometres downstream of the Gibe I dam, Gibe II was introduced to channel the river that was regulated by the Gibe I dam through a 26km-long hydraulic tunnel. Gibe II has the capacity to generate more than 400 megawatts of electricity and there was no need for any of the inhabitants of the areas along the river to be relocated since it used structures already in place as part of Gibe I.(3) The Gibe II project was inaugurated in January 2010.

The Gibe III Project

Gibe III is the third in the series of cascading hydroelectric projects in the region. Gibe III is also located on the Omo River and on completion, will be the largest hydropower plant in Africa. Its anticipated power output of about 1870 megawatts will more than double the total installed capacity in Ethiopia, which in 2007 was 814 megawatts.(4) Ethiopia has suffered from frequent blackouts and power cuts over recent years and is in need of increased electrical supply. The planned generating capacity of Gibe III will create more power than Ethiopia will consume, meaning that surplus energy can be sold to neighbouring countries. Djibouti, Yemen, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt will all be in a position to purchase the excess energy from Ethiopia.(5)

According to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO), the sole provider or power in Ethiopia, the surplus energy is expected to create US$ 407 million in revenue with Ethiopia.(6) For Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, this additional revenue will provide a vital boost to the economy. The EEPCO also predicts that the regulation of the flow of the river, which floods annually under normal circumstances, will be beneficial for local inhabitants since the river will be navigable all year round.

Project met with opposition

Construction of Gibe III began in 2006 and was initially scheduled for completion in 2010. Concerns have been raised however, over the severe environmental degradation and the human rights implications that are predicated to accompany the project. The decreased water flow of the Omo River as a result of the Gibe III dam will have a significant impact on the ecosystems surrounding the river. Concerns have also been raised over the implications of resettlement and the loss of livelihood for the people who live along the Omo River. Human rights advocates say that the dam project has the potential to destroy the livelihoods of 500,000 people in Ethiopia and Kenya.(7) Flood retreat cultivation is central to the lives of many people living along the Omo River. Families traditionally plant riverbank plots as the river floods begin to retreat, with harvesting taking place a few months later. This silt-laden floodwaters mean additional fertilisers are not needed and the reliability of the harvest makes it a fundamental practice for the region’s food security.(8) With the introduction of the dam and the regulation of the flow of the river, this practice will no longer be possible.

Although construction is already under way on Gibe III, a collation of environmental and human rights groups have mounted a campaign to stop the project. The aim is to pressure financiers into ceasing their support of the project. It is in partly due to concerns that have been raised over the environmental and human impact of the project that the full construction cost has not yet been secured.

The project is predominately financed by the Ethiopian Government, with part of the project financed through a corporate bond issued by EEPCO, which is marketed to the Ethiopian diaspora. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank also considered funding the project, but have not yet approved any funding. The Exim Bank of China finances the transmission line to Addis Ababa and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China volunteered a US$ 500 million dollar loan, although this loan has also not yet been confirmed. In March 2010 the African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the main funders of the project, delayed a decision about a loan pending a review of the dam’s environmental impact. The review has been delayed twice previously, but the fact that the AfDB agreed to undertake the hydrological assessment has led opponents to believe that these issues were not studied sufficiently by project developers prior to the beginning of construction. Two previous environmental impact assessments conducted for EEPCO in 2006 and 2008 have also been challenged by the Africa Resources Working Group.(9)

A view to the future

Whilst even critics of the hydropower projects agree that Ethiopia needs to expand its energy production capacity in order to support development, whether large-scale hydropower plants is the best way to do this is a question that is being asked from many sides. The thought that Ethiopia will become one of the most hydropower-dependent nations in the world makes many wary of such a project. Such total dependence on rain in a time of global warming may be potentially disastrous in a country where drought-related food shortages are prevalent and water resources are critical for survival. In contrast, neighbouring Kenya has announced that it is stepping back from hydropower reliance due to the environmental conditions in the country.(10)

The inability of the Gibe III project to secure complete funding points is an ongoing problem for this project, in that it has not yet convinced people that the risks involved are worth it and necessary. It seems that even with construction under way, completion is not certain. Thorough and transparent ecological and human impact assessments need to be carried out in order for the project to move forward with minimum damage and delay and with maximum benefit for the region that the project is aimed at serving.