Ethiopia has officially informed Egypt that it has commenced the next stage of filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), ramping up longstanding tensions between the two countries.
Under construction for over a decade now, GERD represents a colossal public works undertaking. Upon completion, the $4 billion dam will have a reservoir capacity of 74 billion cubic meters, which is well in excess of the 55 billion cubic meters of yearly Nile waters that Egypt is owed under a 1959 treaty with Sudan (Ethiopia was not included in the treaty). The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will bring new water supplies to an otherwise parched landscape in Ethiopia. It will also generate up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity, making it the largest hydropower facility on the continent.