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Now that the GERD is Filled, What’s Next?

Ethiopia has completed the filling of a massive, controversial dam on the Blue Nile River for a second year, state media has said, a move that is likely to anger Egypt and Sudan who have long opposed the project. “The second filling of the Renaissance dam has been completed and the water is overflowing,” Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s minister for water, irrigation and energy said on Monday. “It means we have now the needed volume of the water to run the two turbines,” he said on Twitter. Egypt views the project as a grave threat to its Nile water supplies, on which it is almost entirely dependent. Sudan has also expressed concern about the dam’s safety and the effect on its own dams and water stations. “This is indeed a milestone and Ethiopians are excited about this. This is a project of national pride,” she said, adding that many Ethiopians had financially supported the dam through buying government bonds. Many Ethiopians are anxiously awaiting the completion of a turbine that will be powered by the dam in a country where 65 million people are currently not connected to the power grid.