Sudan: Farmers fear lack of water supply as authorities say Ethiopia dam to blame

Sudanese farmers say they are facing difficulty getting water for their crops due to a drop in the river Niles water levels on Tuti island, as seen on Friday. Demonstrating the irrigation system, Soliman a local farmer, said, «the water level is quite low compared to last year,» and added that the water level is usually much higher this time of year. «In order to start pumping the water, we must lower the motor into the water to obtain the amount of water we need, for both drinking and irrigation, « he explained. The island is located where the Blue and White Niles merge. It is known for its rich agriculture and open-air brick making industry. Sudan's authorities believe there has been a decline in the Nile's water level, which has resulted in a drop in clean water available. They believe Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam could be to blame. According to reports last week Ethiopia has begun to fill the 70 billion cubic metre (2472 billion cubic feet) Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Although Ethiopian authorities claimed the water has collected due to seasonal rains, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy announced that the dam has reached its first-year water target. The construction of the dam began in 2011 in Ethiopia near the Egyptian border. The gravity dam project is expected to be finished by 2023. The project has been criticised for its environmental and social impacts. Ethiopia has said it will begin filling the dam even if a deal is not reached with Egypt and Sudan.

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