The South African Institution of Civil Engineering and the Water Institute of Southern Africa, in a joint statement, condemned US President Donald Trump’s “inflammatory” statement about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
The South African water professionals say they are deeply concerned by the irresponsible comments made by Trump about the dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the GERD.
In particular, both organisations state that Trump’s references to “blowing up the dam” have no place in such important and complex matters, since they could increase instability on the continent.
The organisations point out that many South African water scientists and engineers have worked diligently and productively to encourage cooperation between countries that share rivers.
“Our own experience has shown that cooperation with our neighbours on shared water has contributed to peace and prosperity in our region,” the organisations state.
Further, both organisations highlight that they have also worked with many US experts who have helped to strengthen this message.
After decades of interaction with many international experts, including from the US’ famous Tennessee Valley Authority scheme, the Ethiopians developed the GERD project on the basis of ensuring that there would be shared benefits.
Ethiopia will share the electricity generated with Sudan and the control of the yearly floods will enable Sudan to expand its irrigated agriculture and protect its population from flooding.
The regular flow from the GERD will also help Egypt to manage its water better, by reducing evaporation losses in Lake Nasser and encouraging its farmers to use their water more efficiently.
“We call on all professionals who work in this field to raise their voices and call for cooperation, not conflict on the Nile.”