Published: May 20, 2024
Egypt Delegation Group Photo

On May 15, 2024, GWC’s Director of the Western Water Policy Program, Doug Kenney, and Professor and GWC Board Chair, Mark Squillace, met with a delegation from Egypt to discuss Egypt’s ongoing struggle to reach an agreement with Ethiopia and Sudan over the management of the Blue Nile River.  (The Blue Nile is the major tributary of the Nile, providing roughly 70% of the Nile’s average flow.)  Ethiopia recently completed work on a massive new dam called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile for the primary purpose of bringing electric power to its citizens.  Egypt, however, has long relied on the water from the Nile for domestic and irrigation needs and to produce its own electric power, and the filling and operation of GERD could threaten those uses.  Egypt and Sudan also have concerns about the safety of the new dam since the failure of the dam would have catastrophic consequences for both Sudan and Egypt.

Efforts to reach an agreement on the coordinated operation of the infrastructure have been ongoing for several years, yet Ethiopia has been reluctant to make any formal commitments or even to share information about the operation of GERD.  As the upstream state with a massive dam, Ethiopia can decide when it will store and when it will release water, and it arguably has no incentive to negotiate with Egypt and Sudan over river management.  Much of the discussion focused on alternative incentives that might be employed, perhaps by global partners, to give Ethiopia reasons to negotiate.  But it was generally acknowledged that there are no easy solutions, and it seems unlikely that the parties will be able to reach any agreement in the near term.  The GWC is grateful for the opportunity to discuss these critically important matters, and will remain available to assist any and all parties working to reach an equitable resolution.

Meeting participants included:
Mr. Alaaeldin Mabrouk Moustafa Kotb
Meteorologist, Nile Forecasting Centre, Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
Mr. Mohamed Khaled Badr Mehanna
Senior Engineer, Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
Mr. Amgad Salaheldin Abdelaziz Mohamed
Senior Engineer - Water Resources, Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
Mr. Mostafa Ahmed Senosy Sayed
Assistant Minister for Nile Water, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
Ms. Sara Mohamed Sayed Mohamed Zouriq
Technical Officer, Nile Water Sector, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation