Minister: Nile Flooding will not Threaten Egypt

Published September 9th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

River Nile floods which have devastated parts of Sudan will not threaten Egypt, Water Resources Minister Mahmoud Abu Zaid said, noting that the problem requires the cooperation of the three Nile basin countries, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. 

Abu Zaid said Egypt was "capable of confronting the dangerous floods" thanks to three emergency spillways connected to Lake Nasser behind the Aswan High Dam, Al-Ahram newspaper reported. 

“The High Dam and its three emergency overflow channels in addition to Toshka overflow channel west of Nasser’s Lake enhance this capability. These channels serve as the safety valve for protecting Egypt against the high floods which Egypt might face,” the minister said. 

Responding to a question in a press conference on the Egyptian capabilities, Abu Zaid said, “we have special plans and advanced monitoring equipment that enable us to siphon off the excess water in addition to the options available to us which guarantee the safety of the High Dam and its industrial and construction sites.” 

The minister added that his country would support Sudan with all possible means indicating that joint agreements were signed between the two countries to utilize the excess water rather than waste it. He said that the problems facing Sudan in this respect stemmed from its dams’ poor storage capacity which has decreased to 5 billion cubic meters from 8 billions due to the accumulation of silt. 

“An agreement was signed between Egypt and Sudan to organize the water shares of the two countries from the river’s water giving Egypt the right in 55.5 billion cubic meters and 18.5 billions for Sudan,” the minister said adding that Sudan’s share would be enough as it has other water sources including rain water and streams. 

The minister denied as baseless the news reports about Israeli attempts to cooperate with the Ethiopian government to build new dams reiterating that Egypt’s relations with Ethiopia had witnessed big progress over the past four years. This progress, the minister says, has come after the agreement signed between the Nile basin’s countries to implement joint projects.  

Abu Zaid confirmed that Egyptian experts had recently visited Ethiopia and ensured that the latter did not pose any threat to Egypt adding that Ethiopia had agreed to host a large Egyptian parliamentary delegation to see the facts on the ground – 

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