The Fight For the Nile


Boats sailing on the Nile River (Amr Nabil/AP).

Bella Rock, Reporter

Since the times of Pharaohs and the construction of the Great Pyramids, the Nile River has been an integral part of Egypt. However, the vitality of the Nile is under attack. As reported by the United Nations’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the Nile makes up almost 85% of Egypt’s water source; however, climate change, pollution, and Egypt’s booming population has led to the resources of the river being drained.

To add to the impending doom of the river, Ethiopia has current plans to construct an immense hydroelectric dam in Ethiopian lowlands, 2,000 miles upriver of the Nile. According to officials, Ethiopia is currently planning to begin filling this dam at the beginning of July, as reported in the New York Times.

The dam, entitled the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is an expenditure over $4.5 million and has become a central issue in both Egypt and Ethiopia.

Ethiopians view the dam as a beacon of potential. The dam could aid Ethiopia’s rise to economic power in Africa through electricity sales, as well as powering the country itself. Ethiopia also asserts that the risks to the resources of the Nile aren’t as detrimental as Egypt makes them out to be.

On the other hand, Egypt views the dam as deeply threatening. They fear the dam could drastically diminish their water supply if it’s filled too quickly. Additionally, the dam stems across the Blue Nile – the main Egyptian water supply.

Throughout the past eight years, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan – caught in between the two countries – have been debating this issue. However, the discussion has recently moved to the United States, where the White House has been meditating as of November of 2019. The White House is aiming to reach an agreement by the end of February, but this will be a difficult task to complete.

Tensions over the Nile are so high, there’s a risk for a potential war to break out between Egypt and Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed, the Ethiopian prime minister, told Ethiopian law makers that nothing would stop them completing the construction of the dam. He even added that, if necessary, he could get “millions readied” to wage war against Egypt.