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Ethiopia starts filling dam ‘unilaterally’ as Sudan reports drop in Blue Nile water levels

Ethiopia starts filling dam ‘unilaterally’ as Sudan reports drop in Blue Nile water levels

Ethiopia has begun filling the reservoir behind the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, its water minister said on Wednesday. The statement comes a day after talks with Sudan and Egypt on the giant Blue Nile hydroelectric project stalled.

The remarks by Seleshi Bekele did not address whether Ethiopia had closed the gates of the dam, or the role of recent heavy rains in filling the area behind it, Reuters said.

The project has raised concerns in Egypt that already-limited Nile waters, which its 100 million people depend on heavily, will be further restricted. The Blue Nile is a tributary of the Nile, from which Egypt gets 90 percent of its fresh water. Cairo asked Ethiopia for urgent clarification of whether it had started filling the dam, the Foreign Ministry said.

Sudan’s government said on Wednesday that water levels on the Blue Nile had declined by 90 million cubic meters per day after Ethiopia started filling the dam on its side of the border. Sudan said it rejects any unilateral actions, as negotiations continue between the two countries and Egypt.