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Talks over Ethiopian Dam to Resume Monday amid Rancor
Work is shown in progress last December at the Grand Renaissance Dam near Guba, Ethiopia. (Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images)

Talks over Ethiopian Dam to Resume Monday amid Rancor

Cairo and Khartoum will resume negotiations with Addis Ababa on June 15 over the construction of a dam that will provide Ethiopia with much-needed electricity while threatening the flow of the Nile River to other countries that need its water. The structure, being called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is situated on the Blue Nile, one of the river’s main tributaries. It is said to be more than half complete. The issue right now is the preparation and filling of the reservoir that is to rise behind the dam and supply the water for its electrical turbines, something that will require the river’s flow to be stopped or sharply curtailed. The reservoir will be able to hold some 74 billion cubic meters of water. Both Egypt and Sudan derive much of their water from the Nile. They also point out that proposed agreements do not take into account seasonal droughts, when the lack of rainfall has a major impact on the river’s flow even without taking the dam into consideration. Historically, droughts have had a major impact on the region, most recently in 2011-2012, when several consecutive dry years led to famines and migrations.

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