Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Egypt And Ethiopia Vow To Defuse Row Over Ethiopia Blue Nile Dam

Egypt And Ethiopia Vow To Defuse Row Over Ethiopia Blue Nile Dam

Ethiopia and Egypt have agreed to hold further talks to quell tensions over the building of a new dam on the Blue Nile, their foreign ministers say.

Ethiopia's Tedros Adhanom said the two nations have chosen to swim rather than sink together, AFP news agency reports.

He met his Egyptian counterpart Kamel Amr after Egypt opposed Ethiopia's plans for a hydroelectric dam.

Egypt is worried that the dam will reduce the water supply vital for its 84 million people.

Last week, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi said he did not want war but he would not allow Egypt's water supply to be endangered by the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Mr Morsi said he was keeping "all options open".

Previous statements about the dam had been made "in the heat of the moment", Mr Amr said, at a joint press conference with Mr Tedros in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, AFP reports.


Ethiopia's parliament ratified a controversial treaty last week to replace colonial-era agreements that gave Egypt and Sudan the biggest share of the Nile's water.

The treaty had earlier been signed by five other Nile-basin countries - Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi.

It is intended to replace the 1929 treaty written by Britain that awarded Egypt veto power over any project involving the Nile by upstream countries.

Ethiopia says the $4.7bn (£3.1bn) dam will eventually provide 6,000 megawatts of power.

Egypt was apparently caught by surprise when Ethiopia started diverting the Blue Nile - a tributary of the Nile - last month.

Addis Ababa says the river will be slightly diverted but will then be able to follow its natural course.

Mr Morsi said Egypt had no objection to projects in Nile basin states "on condition that those projects do not affect or damage Egypt's legal and historical rights".

Earlier this month Egyptian politicians were inadvertently heard on live TV proposing military action over the dam.


The Nile River is regarded as the longest river on Earth (flowing for 4000 miles) with two main tributaries, the Blue Nile and the White Nile flowing apart until the meet near Khartoum in Sudan. The northern section of the river flows from Sudan into Egypt, which has depended on the waters of the Nile since ancient times when pharaohs flooded the river to provide fertile soil and in return would receive the crops grown. Nearly all of the historical sites of Ancient Egypt are also seen along the banks of the Nile River which ends in a delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

The source of the Nile is considered to be Lake Victoria, which also has rivers that feed into it from Rwanda and Tanzania. This is known as the White Nile. The Blue Nile flows over eight hundred miles to Khartoum where the Blue Nile and White Nile join to form the "Nile proper". 90% of the water of the Nile originates in Ethiopia, but only in summer, when the rains fall on the Ethiopian Plateau. Otherwise, the rivers feed it weakly. There has also been much heated debate throughout history as how to best maintain the waters of the Nile River in an equitable fashion.

Is there hope now? Well, as the article above makes clear, circumstances are such that those nations involved will have no choice, as populations in the river basin may double by mid-century and scenarios show global warming decreasing water flows in the Nile by up to 40 percent. From what I can see based on this too many dams are being built in this world on the whole! They for the most part do harm marine life, agriculture and force the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and are not as sustainable as many believe they are. The power generated which usually isn't that much is also sent outside the area to richer neighborhoods while the poor struggle to live. Water in this area of the world is already physically scarce due to pollution, population, drought and effects of climate change such as salt water intrusion. There must come about a better way to manage water and provide electricity in areas which share resources.

Solar is one way, as well as devising smaller turbines to generate electricity that do not require damming of rivers with safeguards for other life in waterways and to support the agricultural livelihoods of those people who live in those areas. I cannot understand why with all of the vision we supposedly have that we can't come up with a way to do this.

Nikola Tesla himself invented a bladeless turbine that could be used to provide electricity that would not require damming, changing the flow of rivers and would not harm other species or interfere with the lives of those living on the banks of these rivers. Truly renewable energy. This is the 21 st Century. What has happened to true innovation? Oh yes,that isn't lucrative enough for corrupt governments, construction companies and entities like the World Bank that all make $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ from doing it the antiquated way while trying to sell us on it being "renewable."

There should absolutely never be a reason why any two nations would go to war over water. However, I do believe it is much more possible now as we see areas known to be arid becoming more so due to climate change which is effecting food prices and causing many people to move from areas they have spent many generations in. Also, the mindset of governments like Egypt that think they have dominion over the entire source because the British told them they did while not using it entirely for the good all people does not help. I wonder what the current protests in Egypt

will do regarding this dam. There is a higher law that requires humanity to take precedence. The Nile Basin Initiative shares a vision that those resources can be managed without conflict. Let us hope that is a reality.


Also see:

Egypt/Ethiopia Argue Over Dam Project

Nile Basin Initiative

More History Of The River Nile

Egyptian Villages Fight Water War

Egypt Blocks Nile Water Deal

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