Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ethiopia boosts Nile water dispute with Egypt

Space Daily via UPI: Ethiopia has begun diverting the Blue Nile to build a giant hydroelectric dam, cutting the flow of water to Egypt, Sudan and other downstream states and raising tensions in a long-running dispute with Cairo.

With Egypt in turmoil and financial straits in the lingering aftermath of the 2011 pro-democracy ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, and Sudan gripped by political upheaval following the secession of oil-rich South Sudan in 2012, the long-running Nile issue could turn nasty.

Ethiopia insisted that the flow levels of the world's longest river wouldn't be affected by the 6,000-megawatt, $4.7 billion Grand Renaissance Dam. But Cairo and Khartoum say that once the massive project, one of several dams Addis Ababa is building, is completed, supposedly by 2015, their share of the Nile water will be reduced by 18 billion cubic meters a year.

The Ethiopian dam is to have a reservoir of 63 billion cubic meters of water, one of the largest in Africa. Filling that would immediately cut the water flow to Sudan and Egypt. How bad that will be depends on the rate at which the Ethiopians decide to fill the reservoir....

Bahir Dar near the place where Blue Nile leaves Lake Tana, shot by ZeGhion, public domain

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