Big dams are always contentious. This article looks at the proposed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, one of the three main tributaries of the Nile that begin in Ethiopia. It will double the country’s electricity generation capacity with the potential of earning a billion dollars annually from energy exports to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, and, potentially, Egypt. The GERD’s massive reservoir will store 74 billion cubic meters (BCM) of water, roughly equal to a year-and-half’s worth of the Blue Nile’s flow. Egypt worries that an upstream dam on the Blue Nile, which contributes about 60 percent of the flow of the Nile, will reduce water supply and power generation at Aswan. As a hydropower project, the GERD will not directly consume water once its reservoir is filled. It could, however, reduce the amount of water Egypt receives if it leads to a significant increase of irrigation in Sudan.

Big dams on the Nile – Ethiopia – ech2o newsletter snippet