Water management is about peace and cooperation not threats of violence- WISA & SAICE on inflammatory comments by US President about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
South Africans water professionals are deeply concerned by the irresponsible comments made by the US President Donald Trump about the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. In particular, references to ‘blowing up the dam’ have no place in such important and complex matters and could increase instability on the continent.
Many South African water scientists and engineers have worked diligently and productively to encourage cooperation between countries that share rivers. Our own experience has showed that cooperation with our neighbours on shared water has contributed to peace and prosperity in our region. We have also worked with many US experts who have helped to strengthen this message and who we know will be shocked by the US President’s statement.
After decades of interaction with many international experts, including from the USA’s famous TVA scheme, the Ethiopians developed the GERD project on the basis of ensuring that there would be shared benefits.
Ethiopia will share the electricity generated with Sudan and the control of the annual floods will allow Sudan to expand its irrigated agriculture and protect its population from flooding. The regular flow from the GERD will also help Egypt to manage its water better, by reducing evaporation losses in Lake Nasser and encouraging its farmers to use their water more efficiently.
So we call on all professionals who work in this field to raise their voices and call for cooperation not conflict on the Nile.
Water Institute of Southern Africa
South African Institution of Civil Engineering