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@Aaraldi Would you have a link for this?
 

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This is probably fake news.

It does not make sense for South Sudan to risk having a really bad relationship with Ethiopia by hosting such a base even if it may not be currently in good terms with the Ethiopian government.

The base is still far away from the location of the dam. I would say a good 200KM or so. It really won't buy the Egyptians any tactical advantage unless they plan to build an air strip. And building such an airstrip too close to the Ethiopian border does not make sense as it will be within range of Ethiopian artillery fire.
 

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no offence, but sounds like fake news to me. No other news website is reporting it. And the website 'ssnewsnow.com' does not exactly exude reliability.
 

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We still don't know if they have the additional fuel tanks and if they have enough of them - because you will lose all three of these additional fuel tanks during a single flight.

Second, if they are really bombing the dam: would Sudan grant overflight rights of dozens of figher jet missions - and why? Sudans own irrigation plans would see an enormous boost with the GERD (which again would reduce the amount of water for Egypt). The Roseires dam was considered to buffer the large flows of the Abay to prevent Khartoum being flooded but the Roseires dam saw a lot of silting and sedimentation and cannot do this as required anymore. So the GERD would protect Khartoum from large floods. It is not in their national interest to allow Egypt overflight rights. They have quite a few fighter jets and they have it in response to Egypts air force. To name a few: Sukhoi Su-35, MiG-29, ... if Egypt would really try to bomb the GERD they would have to kill off Sudan's airforce first - which would result in a war between these two countries. And a hotspot of the fights would be the Aswan High Dam which strategically is Egypts weakest spot.

The only scenario imaginable would be that the Sudan provides overflight rights. But how would Egypt do that?
In My thinking, bombing the dam can only happen in the construction stages, after the dam has been filled to some point, bombing the dam to release the waters would be akin to sentencing to death million of residents in Khartoum and other settlements along the banks from the floods that this would occasion. In which case i do not see Sudan agreeing to such a plan.
 

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Why is now the right time to start the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)?
June 1, 2020
Opinion



By: Essayas Kaba, Ph.D., Geospatial Scientist; Feyera Aga Hirpa, Ph.D., Flood Data Scientist; Semu Moges, Ph.D., P.E, Water Resource Scientist, The Water-Energy-Food Nexus Team

Ethiopia is in preparation to commence the filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in July 2020, the middle of the wet season across Ethiopian highlands. It is the right time to start filling the dam. Three important hydrological conditions that strongly favor such a plan are: the increased water storage in the High Aswan Dam (HAD), the higher than average seasonal rainfall in Ethiopia and the upper Nile, and increased water storage in the Equatorial Lakes.

The high water storage in the High Aswan Dam (HAD)
The water level at the HAD (Lake Nasser) in Egypt has been steadily increasing since 2016 (post the 2015 drought) and is currently at 2.87 meters above its 10 years mean water level (usda.gov, 2020a). The satellite radar altimetry data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service; usda.gov, 2020a) shows the current water level is higher than 88% of the maximum lake water levels observed since 1992 (Figure 1). The increased storage in HAD provides a favorable buffering effect to compensate the portion of the water stored in the GERD as the filling commences in the next wet season.

Figure One: Reservoir water level of High Aswan Dam (Lake Nasser)

The seasonal high rainfall

Above-average rainfall has been observed from January through May across Ethiopian highlands and the upper Nile. Furthermore, the seasonal outlook of the next wet season months (June-September) also shows a wetter increase compared to the long-term average rainfall. The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) forecast release for June-September 2020 (ICPAC, 2020) shows (Figure 2), most of the Horn of Africa receiving summer rainfall is wetter than above long-term mean average (40-60%). The coming wet season combined with the current higher state of water storage in HAD enables the filling of GERD to commence with minimal impact on the HAD reservoir water and downstream water uses. It would be irresponsible to miss this opportunity of relatively higher water abundance compared to other years.

Figure 2: the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) June-September 2020 rainfall forecast (ICPAC, 2020)

The rising water level in Lake Victoria

The Equatorial Nile region has experienced heavy rainfall and flooding during the long rainy season (March-May) this year (2020). As a result, the water level in Equatorial Lakes including Lake Victoria, a major contributor to Nile water, has shown a rapid increase (Figure 3). In fact, it has been reported that “the Lake Victoria now is at a record high 13.42 meters” (The Independent (n.d.)), which is higher than the previous high-water mark of 13.41 meters recorded on May 5, 1964 (from a reference gauge). The increased stored water in the Equatorial Lakes this year continues to yield more water to the Nile river than the years with average seasonal rainfall. Consequently, it would be irresponsible to miss this season when the water availability in hydrological systems has clearly increased and when the portion that would be stored in the GERD with the start of the filling would have minimal effect on the water resources of the downstream countries.

Figure 3: A record Lake Victoria water level rise (above the 1964 level) Source: USDA (2020b).

In summary, the combination of the rising water level of Lake Nasser, the favorable wet season rainfall, and the raising of Equatorial levels has created an unmissable opportunity to start filling the GERD this wet season. In fact, from the water resources perspective, starting this summer should be in the best interest of all the trans-boundary countries. We believe that all the evidences suggest that this season is the best time to commence filling the dam.

 

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@LaoTze Do you have a picture that shows the current status of the middle corridor (the lowest block) ?
Here's your answer, from Sileshi Bekele's twitter page, posted today ... Seems like the center section is ready for water impounding expected next month.

"ከንበረበት 525ሜ ወደ 560ሜ ለማድረስ የተሰራውን አዲስ የኮንክሪት ስራ እንደ ምሳሌ ነው:: ውሃው እስከዚህ ከፍታ በማድረስ 4.9ቢ ሜትር ኪዩብ በመያዝ ቀሪው በአናት ወደ ታች ይፈሳል ማለት ነው"

 

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Here's your answer, from Sileshi Bekele's twitter page, posted today ... Seems like the center section is ready for water impounding expected next month.

"ከንበረበት 525ሜ ወደ 560ሜ ለማድረስ የተሰራውን አዲስ የኮንክሪት ስራ እንደ ምሳሌ ነው:: ውሃው እስከዚህ ከፍታ በማድረስ 4.9ቢ ሜትር ኪዩብ በመያዝ ቀሪው በአናት ወደ ታች ይፈሳል ማለት ነው"
... only a few more meters now to provisional spill level
190700
 
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