Water expert says Egypt sought
IPoE report kept secret
17 April 2014 (WIC) – An independent water expert said Egypt wanted a report by
the International Panel of Experts, which assessed the impacts of the Grand
Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, to be kept secret.
In an interview with UK’s The Guardian, Dr Ana Cascăo, a
researcher at the Stockholm International Water Institute whose doctoral thesis
analysed hydropolitics in the Nile basin, argued that the study is largely
optimistic about GERD’s impacts.
"That's why Egypt was not happy for it to be released,"
Cascăo said. “In terms of dam safety and even in terms of water going
downstream – the report is quite positive," she added.
The report was prepared by six experts, two each from
Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, and four international experts. The IPoE submitted
the report to the three countries in May 2013 but it has not been made public
Cascăo said the GERD may eventually help reduce the build-up
of sediment in downstream dams like the Aswan High Dam, increasing capacity.
She said the dam will also help to keep the Nile's flow constant throughout the
“In terms of structural safety, Sudan – the country most
endangered by any catastrophe at the GERD – is satisfied with its construction,”
the expert said.
Cascăo also said Egypt's interests may actually be aligned
with Ethiopia's, since Ethiopia will ultimately want to see as much water flow
through the GERD as possible in order to maximise hydroelectric power.
The expert’s remark is in stark contrast to International
River Network’s (IRN) statement on 31 March 2014 which called for the halt of
the construction of the GERD.
Ethiopia’s National Panel of Experts (NPoE) was quick to
rebuff IRN’s remark in a strongly worded statement.
NPoE accused IRN of siding with Egypt and waging a proxy
campaign on behalf of the latter to undermine Ethiopia’s efforts to utilize its
water resources and extricate the country from poverty.