In Africa, War Over Water Looms As Ethiopia Nears Completion Of Nile River Dam

Boats cruise on a Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, final October. Tensions between Egypt and upstream Nile dish countries, Sudan and Ethiopia, have flared adult again over a construction and effects of a large dam being built by Ethiopia on a Nile River.

Amr Nabil/AP


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Amr Nabil/AP

Boats cruise on a Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, final October. Tensions between Egypt and upstream Nile dish countries, Sudan and Ethiopia, have flared adult again over a construction and effects of a large dam being built by Ethiopia on a Nile River.

Amr Nabil/AP

A new mega-dam being built by Ethiopia on a Nile River is melancholy to hint a fight over H2O and change domestic change in northeastern Africa.

Ethiopia sees a dam as a pivotal to a mercantile future, though a neighbor to a north, Egypt, fears a dam could spell doom for a H2O supply, says BBC Africa match Alastair Leithead. The Nile supplies scarcely 85 percent of all H2O in Egypt, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization of a United Nations.

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The $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would building over 500 feet and will generate some-more than 3 times a volume of appetite constructed by a Hoover Dam in a U.S. When completed, it will be a largest dam in Africa and will beget adult to 6,450 megawatts of energy.

“Egypt has had control politically of a Nile for millennia,” Leithead tells Here Now’s Jeremy Hobson. “And unexpected Ethiopia has now come along — in a center of a Arab Spring, they started building this dam — now they can, if they want, to control a flow. They contend that’s not what this is about.”

According to a World Bank, about 75 million Ethiopians or three-quarters of a race now lack entrance to electricity. The nation predicts a appetite constructed by a mega-dam will assistance put people to work, Leithead says. Industry expansion in a segment is a priority since a United Nations predicts a race of Africa will double by 2050.

“It’s not about control of a flow, though providing event for us to rise ourselves by appetite development,” Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity, told a BBC.

But Ethiopia’s dive conduct initial into a plan has genuine implications for Egypt’s H2O supply. The United Nations is already presaging that Egypt will knowledge H2O shortages by 2025.

“The pharaohs used to contend about Egypt that it was a present of a Nile,” Leithead says. “They used to ceremony a stream as a god. And they now see a nation upstream with a large daub that if they wish to, they can spin off that river’s flow.”

The dam could intensify shortages since as a fountainhead behind it fills up, a Nile’s H2O levels could drop by 25 percent for adult to 7 years, a Geological Society of America estimates.

In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change's Effects

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is dire Ethiopia to delayed down a timeline for stuffing adult a reservoir, though talks between a dual countries are stalled, Leithead says.

The mega-dam could both politically and economically renovate a Horn of Africa. For some countries downstream, like Sudan, it will yield cheaper electricity, and will assistance umpire a river’s H2O levels, that are disposed to yearly flooding. But Sudan’s support could potentially disrupt a 1959 covenant with Egypt that allocates a Nile’s waters between a dual countries.

“If Egypt ‘loses’ Sudan — a usually nation it has a H2O allocation agreement with, and a usually Nile riparian nation that can poise poignant threats to waters issuing downstream due to a high irrigation intensity — that would be intensely unsure for Egypt,” Ana Cascão, an consultant on a politics of a Nile, told Foreign Policy.

Ethiopia’s expostulate to finish a project, that a supervision is appropriation entirely, echoes a opinion of Egypt when it built a Aswan High Dam in a 1960s, Leithead adds.

“You demeanour behind during a aged footage from a few decades ago in a ’60s when Egypt was building a Aswan High Dam, and we see a kind of nationalism, a kind of, ‘We are behind this project. This is us as a nation doing something dramatic,’” he says. “That is what Ethiopia is doing right now.”

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