Advisor to Egypt’s irrigation minister, Alaa Yassin, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website Wednesday that some firms — originally expected to make their offers late November — requested an extension.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had selected seven international firms in October to prepare technical and financial offers in order to choose one to conduct studies on Ethiopia’s dam.
The firms were from Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland and Australia.
A tripartite committee was expected to hold a meeting Thursday in Khartoum to study the offers and then choose a firm in Addis Ababa on 16 December.
The firm’s report — based on study to be conducted over five months — will include the dam’s impact on upstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan, as well as its environmental, social and economic effects.
Cairo is concerned that Ethiopia’s $4.2 billion dam project, which the Ethiopian government says is now 40 percent complete, could have an adverse effect on its water supply.
Relations between the two countries have been tense as a result. However, recent diplomatic efforts appear to have improved bilateral communication.
Several visits and meetings have taken place across the three countries in the past few months.
Egypt said that there are several technical issues that could be discussed with Ethiopia should the technical report conclude that the dam might negatively affect Egypt.
Egypt will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current 55 billion cubic metre quota, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million, according to Egypt’s National Planning Institute.