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Nature ahead of Schedule

Nature ahead of Schedule

Satellite Imagery from Plant Labs, an American Earth Imaging company, and picked up by the Bloomberg
News Agency, has caused quite a stir in the global media, this week. The imagery depicted fast rising
water levels behind the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), located in Goba, Benishangul Gumuz
Regional State. The release of the imagery coincided with deadlock in the GERD talks, midweek, which
was conducted under the auspices of the African Union. The talks bounced back to the AU from the
UNSC, early the previous week, after Egypt’s active forum shopping took matter to the Council. On that
platform, Ethiopia and the AU deemed the matter a development issue and claimed that it should be
resolved by the continent’s own institutions. The image shows aerial pictures of the Dam, specifically the
reservoir behind the Dam structure, which will eventually be expected to hold 74 billion cubic liters.
Various pictures from March, May, June, and from multiple dates in July show that water levels are
rising particularly high over time. The Ethiopian Water Minister, Sileshi Bekele (PhD), while confirming
the images said that the impoundment is largely due to the very high rainfall levels in recent weeks; and
as result of the Dam walls rising from 525 meters to 560 meters. The progress in the civil construction is
giving rise to water impoundment naturally, Sileshi said. However, report of Aljazeera New Agency,
claiming to have been informed by Sudanese authorities, argues that the event and the water levels at
the border stations show declining volume, which is rejected by Ethiopian Authorities.