The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is a gravity dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia currently under construction
. It is located in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia in a place called Guba, about 20 km east of the border with Sudan. It will generate 6,000 MW electricity. It’s construction is based on international standard. Now its implementation reaches above 58%.
Ethiopia is constructing the dam mainly for generating electricity that will support the country’s economic development. It does not consume water and in no way cause’s significant harm for the downstream countries, rather it gives multiple benefits to lower riparian countries, especially for Sudan and Egypt.
Many researches proved that the dam will have many benefits to Sudan. The major ones are listed as follows:
1. The dam will increase the water storage capacity of Sudan: The GERD will offer regulated flow of water to Sudan throughout the year. More constant flows all over the year will reduce losses by infiltration and evaporation along the river, which in turn saves water. The dam will also provide opportunity for saving water through controlled water management. Based on having regular flow of water, Sudan irrigation can be expanded with no additional investment on water storage. Even the availability of huge amount of water storage in Ethiopia will be a resource that will benefit Sudan during drought periods.
2. The dam will increase the agricultural projects of Sudan: since the Sudan will get the regular flow of water throughout the year, the very comfortable land in Sudan will be expanded by irrigation. The construction of Tekeze dam in Ethiopia gave many benefits for farmers around Halfa Jadeed.
3. The dam will avoid flood risks: The GERD will reduce negative impacts recurrent floods cause on population and infrastructures in Sudan. In addition to saving the lives of communities, flood damage risk in millions of dollar will be avoided annually. For example, it is important to remember that Sudan had been affected by severe floods two years ago which damage several houses and killed more than 70 peoples.
4. The dam will increase the energy capacity of Sudanese dams: The GERD will improve Sudan's dams’ efficiency and optimizes water use. Because during the presence of sediment it will decrease the life of the dams and the amount of water in the reservoir of the dams.
5. The dam will capture the sediment: the controlling of silt will have a benefit to Sudan by protecting irrigation canals and equipment from damages caused by sedimentation. The life storage of Sudanese dams will extend for at least a century. And minimizes costs for dredging of sediments from canals, maintenance, make ease of gate operation.
The GERD will have also many benefits to other riparian countries.