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Water pictured around Renaissance Dam alarms Egyptians

As negotiations to complete the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam studies remain stalled, satellite images show water pooling around the dam, raising Egyptian suspicions of unauthorized storage.
Construction workers are seen in a section of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia March 31, 2015. According to a government official, the dam has hit the 41 percent completion mark. Picture taken March 31, 2015. REUTER/Tiksa Negeri  - RTR4VQ4C

CAIRO — Satellite images taken July 10 and showing around 200 million cubic meters (almost 53 billion gallons) of water pooled at the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) reservoir site have sparked controversy in Egypt amid fears that Ethiopia has started filling the reservoir. The Egyptian government, however, says the pooling water is due to construction and the 2017 seasonal Nile flooding.

On July 12, the Egyptian government stated that the water pools have no impact on Egypt's water quota. On the same day, Haytham Awad, the former head of the Irrigation Engineering and Hydraulics Department at Alexandria University, told Egyptian news outlets, “After analyzing the newly acquired satellite images of the Renaissance Dam reservoir site, it appears that a small new lake is being formed over a surface around 16 square kilometers [10 square miles].”

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