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Water and the Law

Water and the Law

Towards Sustainability

The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series

Edited by Michael Kidd, Loretta Feris, Tumai Murombo and Alejandro Iza

Water and the Law examines the critical relationship between law and the management of water resources in the context of ensuring environmental sustainability. It highlights the central importance of integrated water resources management and cooperation in achieving sustainability. The book considers two broad themes: how law can contribute to the sustainability of water itself and how the law’s regulation of water can contribute to the sustainability of life – both human life as well as that of other species in their natural environment.

Chapter 3: International legal perspectives on the utilization of trans-boundary rivers: the case of the Ethiopian Renaissance (Nile) Dam

Habtamu Alebachew

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, water, law - academic, environmental law, water law


The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is at present under construction at the very source of the Blue Nile that contributes about 86 per cent of the total Nile Waters. The specific site of the project is some 42 kilometres from the eastern border of South Sudan. The Renaissance Dam under construction is reportedly one of the largest dams in Africa, twice as large as the inland Lake Tana in Northern Ethiopia. It is estimated it will hold about 63 billion cubic metres of water at completion, and has been designed to generate about 5,552 megawatts of hydroelectric power. The hydropower planned to be generated from the Dam is expected to increase the national power supply by three times more than current supply. The project is estimated to cost about $5 billion or about 80 billion Ethiopian birr up to its completion in five or fewer years. A renewed academic discussion is currently prevalent in various places; more articulate and serious in Ethiopia and Egypt, to a lesser degree, in Sudan.

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