Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati said Egypt has always stressed its need of every drop of the Nile water and that Egyptians can never give up on their right to water.
His remarks came while addressing MPs on water issues in a plenary session on Tuesday, explaining that ministries of irrigation and foreign affairs have been leading the negotiations over the GERD in Washington.
Abdel-Ati said Egypt’s share of the Nile water stands at 55bn cubic metres when the population was just 20 million, and it’s still the same, even after today’s population reached 100 million, he added.
“In 2050, Egypt’s population will reach 170 million, and this means we will need at least an additional 7.5bn cubic metres of water to cover the population’s growing water needs.”
Abdel-Ati said Egypt is the most efficient country when using the Nile’s water, continuing “let me say that Egypt recycles 20bn cubic metres of the Nile water every year to cover its growing needs.”
The minister stressed Egypt is working on different fronts to rationalise water resources as the government will invest as much as EGP 100m in water resources in the next 10 years, and that currently, the government is building dams, lakes, reservoirs, and desalination stations to save as much water as possible.
Moreover, Egypt’s parliament speaker Ali Abdel-Aal said MPs are closely following the latest developments related to the GERD negotiations.
He also asserted that Egypt will never waive its rights to the Nile water because this is a matter of life and death and it is an existential matter for all Egyptians, adding that “parliament has full confidence that the national political leadership is defending the rights of all Egyptians.”
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gedu Andargachew has conducted an interview with Qatar’s Al Jazeera about different issues, mainly the ongoing talks on GERD, according to a statement by the ministry on Wednesday.
The interview is expected to be published soon, the statement said, introducing some of the questions discussed during the interview.
He thoroughly explained Ethiopia’s stance, admired the ‘principle-based’ stance of Sudan on the GERD talks and called on all stakeholders to use the river Nile as a source of cooperation rather than conflict, the statement noted.
This came a few days after Abdel-Ati participated in a television interview on Monday, in which he spoke about the negotiations, the GERD’s technical studies, and the US’ role in all of this.
During the interview, Abdel Ati said Ethiopia seeks no agreement over its giant dam project and has not provided any alternative, adding that Cairo will “to a great extent” be prepared to contain the impact of the filling of the dam’s reservoir if Ethiopia begins the process in July.
Abdel-Ati said “The Ethiopian side does not want an agreement and has not offered an alternative”.
Tensions between the two countries mounted last month after Ethiopia withdrew from the latest round of US-sponsored talks, which were expected to generate a final deal between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan, another downstream country, over the GERD. The deal, drafted by the US, that has been mediating the talks, was initiated by Egypt, but it has not been signed by the other sides.