News / Africa

Nile Talks Highlight Ethiopian, Egyptian Split

FILE - Water gushes out from pipes by the construction of Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 kilometers from Ethiopia's border with Sudan.
FILE - Water gushes out from pipes by the construction of Ethiopia's Great Renaissance Dam in Guba Woreda, some 40 kilometers from Ethiopia's border with Sudan.
Elizabeth Arrott
Water ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are meeting in Khartoum to try to resolve differences over Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam. Egyptian officials remain worried the Nile project threatens the nation's security.

Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese officials hope to reach an agreement on the Renaissance Dam, which has angered Egyptian officials and brought forth repeated objections to the project.

This second round of tripartite talks follows a shift in allegiances among the three countries. Sudan has historically sided with Egypt in claiming the lion's share of the river's water and veto rights over upstream developments. But last week, Khartoum lent its support to Ethiopia's drive to complete construction.

Ethiopian officials have tried to bring Sudan and others on board by offering access to future electricity generated by the dam. They argue the project should be seen as a pan-African effort.

Yet Egypt remains worried. Ethiopia began diverting water earlier this year to fill the massive reservoir behind the dam, a multi-year effort that will lower water levels reaching Egypt.

African Studies and Water Issues analyst Ayman Abd El Wahab of al Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo said Egypt needs compensation. He argued that Ethiopia has crossed the line from usurping Egypt's historic rights to the Nile to threatening national security.  He pointed out that Egypt is alone among the Nile Basin countries to rely almost exclusively on the Nile for its water supply.

The issue has flared for decades, and has raised talk of “water wars.”

Yet el Wahab agrees with many experts that there is enough water to go around, if the resource is properly handled and the nations along the Nile's banks can work together.

Some Egyptian officials had sought a six-month delay in dam construction so the three countries can implement recommendations by an international group of water experts. Ethiopia is eager to move ahead on what is set to be Africa's largest hydroelectric dam, insisting the project will be a benefit to all.

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Comments page of 2
by: ajonga from: juba south sudan
December 14, 2013 1:24 AM
Egypt can not stop any one from using the nile water. Sudan alone has some dam why not ethopian,ugandan .they should know that south sudan has no dam yet.

by: eliyas wubete from: ethiopia
December 12, 2013 3:37 PM
no one stop ethiopia buliding the miliniyam dam

by: Dagem from: VA
December 11, 2013 8:49 PM
What is the meaning of fairness when one contributes zero and wants to use 99.99....9% of others? All I can say is just repeat what the Uganda's president said," ...Egypt can't continue to hurt black African..."

by: Adal from: Asia
December 11, 2013 3:16 AM
".....Ethiopia has crossed the line .." which line they are talking about. Do they mean a line drawn by British colonizers in 1929 or 1958? . Pls. guys !! tell them to get out of that hallucination of old time and open their mind to the reality on the ground and equal opportunity for all including all poor Egyptians not only We Ethiopians who suffered by long standing sabotage policy of Egyptian Regimes of 19th and 20th centuries. Even if we need to the water could not be stoppable from its Natural course, However, one must understand and accept that we need to use the Nile as much as we need and the other also has equal right to use this Gift of GOD fairly. STOP your egos and greed.


by: aklil from: delft
December 11, 2013 12:42 AM
The river was diverted to have free working space in the dam location not to fill the reservoir as reported here.

by: reda from: usa
December 10, 2013 9:32 PM
If building this dam will affect the national security of Egypt, then no blam of any millitary reaction to destroy that shit
In Response

by: David Shiferaw from: Toronto, Canada
December 11, 2013 12:24 PM
I assure you REDA that if the Grand Renaissance is in anyway sabotaged or bombed - then Egypt will only be getting millions and millions of cubic litres of shit flowing its way. The Nile water will become simply the cheapest dumping ground for Ethiopia's growing tannery, floriculture and mining sectors. Moreover, Egypt will forever have to worry about its Aswan dam being hit in retaliation at anytime - now, in 10 years, or in 30 years. Sudan will be held culpable if its airspace was used as well - if so the Meroe dam itself will be a target....Bottom line, Egyptians will literally be on the receiving end of the world's most filthiest waters - and hopefully it will be in great quantities.

by: Aklilu from: USA
December 10, 2013 8:08 PM
If Egypt maintains its current water consumption, there will be plenty of water for everyone. Their own planned expansions such as the New Valley Project will have a bigger impact on water supply than the construction of a dam in Ethiopia. They may also have to modernize their irrigation system to minimize water loss.

In the future more and more parts of the world may have to depend on desalinated water. Egypt is strategically located to take advantage of desalinated water than Ethiopia which is landlocked and mountainous. The terrain around the Blue Nile until it leaves Ethiopia gives very limited irrigation opportunity.

by: Ermas from: USA
December 10, 2013 4:13 PM
None of Egypt problem at all when it comes to our Owen water we trying to develop energy not a bomb why Egypt insist going orotund the world and say Ethiopia harming Egypt we never did and we will never do that but stop treating us if u do we will do what ever neccery pls stop harassing !!

by: sisay girma from: Seattle WA
December 10, 2013 3:30 PM
Ethiopia have the right to use its natural resources so no need to other negotioation to dele of time , every body know the cause of poverty and what happen in Saudi Arabia's in nation of ethiopia

by: Amanuel shamebo from: Ethiopian living in RSA
December 10, 2013 1:34 AM
Why why the Egypt they have the blind we must ask permission from them to use our river .no we can't do that is the sprit of Areb
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