Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

Sudan has declared a state of emergency in the Merowe Dam area, located in the north of the country, in anticipation of floods occurring.

The move comes after the dam’s lake received large quantities of water beyond the lake’s capacity.

Sudan declared a state of emergency just a few days after Ethiopia announced the completion of the second stage of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a statement late on Friday, the Governmental Emergency and Flood Chamber in the city of Merowe said that the Merowe Dam administration reported the arrival of large quantities of water. 

These volumes were more than expected after Addis Ababa released huge amounts of water after commencing the second filling of the GERD reservoir.

The Merowe Dam is the largest water body in Sudan, located on the course of the Nile River near the city of Merowe in the Northern State, 350 km from Khartoum. The storage capacity of its lake is more than 12 billion cbm, with a length of up to 176 km. 

The statement appealed to citizens to take the necessary precautions to avoid the danger of floods and protect bridges. A warning was also sent out to not open any streams, except under the supervision of the committees responsible for bridges along the River Nile.

Last week, Sudan’s Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources announced an expected increase in the Blue Nile’s water supply as a result of heavy rains on the Ethiopian plateau. The ministry called on its citizens living on both sides of the Blue Nile to take precautions to preserve lives and properties.

As a result of the unexpected volume of water, the Merowe Dam administration has opened two gates to drain about 150 million cbm of water. 

On 5 July, Ethiopia notified the countries downstream on the River Nile, namely Egypt and Sudan, that it would be starting the second phase filling of the GERD’s reservoir, without reaching a tripartite agreement. Both Cairo and Khartoum rejected the Ethiopian move. 

On Thursday, Ethiopia announced that it was ready to resume talks to reach a profitable agreement on filling and operating the GERD, without signing a final agreement. 

Both Egypt and Sudan insist on signing a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the controversial dam, to secure their rights to a water share. 

Meanwhile, Russia rejected “attempts to link military-technical cooperation between Russia and Ethiopia to the GERD issue, calling for it not to be politicised to avoid an escalation of tension between Cairo, Khartoum, and Addis Ababa”.

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