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Ethiopian Water Minster says higher water levels in Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam due to recent heavy rainfall

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Addis Getachew and Seleshi Tessema

Ethiopian TV apologizes for error in Nile dam reporting

dam 19Ethiopia’s state-owned broadcaster apologized on Thursday for “erroneous” reporting on the filling of the $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In a press conference in the capital on Wednesday, the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation quoted water minister Seleshi Bekele as saying that construction of the dam and filling its reservoir “go hand in hand” and confirmed satellite images showing higher water levels in the reservoir were correct.

However, following the reports on his remarks, the minister said higher water levels were due to recent heavy rainfall — and not due to the conscious efforts to fill the dam.

The minister said 560 meters above sea level is the height required to hold 4.9 billion cubic meters of water Ethiopia needs to test two turbines as part of the construction.

The dam, he added, is capable of holding 74 billion cubic meters of water, and generate 6,475MW of electricity.

“We apologize for the misrepresentation we made in our report concerning the minister’s statement, and we resent having led international media houses to import the same error and disseminate that,” the ETV said.

While Sudan rejected the unilateral action, Egypt also sought clarification on the issue.

Ethiopia began building the dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile, a tributary of the Nile River, near the border with Sudan.

The construction of the 147-meter (482 feet) high, 1.8-kilometer (1.1-mile) long project is expected to be completed by 2023.

The 2015 Declaration of Principles signed between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt provides that Ethiopia reserves a right to go on construction in parallel with negotiations on the dam’s filling and operation.

The three countries failed to reach an agreement on regulating water flow from the dam earlier this week.