¿Quién domina el Nilo? La guerra del agua entre Egipto y Etiopía por controlar el gran río africano
On February 11, 2020, this counter in the Heliopolis neighborhood changed a 9 to a 0. The 100 million Egyptian had just been born. By 2030, Egypt will have 128 million inhabitants. And 150 million twenty years later. Today, Egypt consumes about 640 cubic meters of freshwater resources per capita. For many, Egypt is “the master of the Nile,” The African country water consumption depends on 96% of the great river. All this is endangered by … This: This gigantic dam that, thousands of kilometers upstream, Ethiopia is building on the main tributary of the Nile, The Blue Nile which carries 80% of the total river flow. The construction of the Great Dam of the Ethiopian Renaissance, has not only endangered the historic ‘status quo’ of the Nile waters, but has also brought leading countries to the edge of international conflict. Will the Nile have enough water for everyone? These disputes, which border on the war, are nothing new. In 1978 the Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam proposed the construction of a series of dams on the Nile. The Egyptian ruler, Anuar al Sadat, even threatened a military incursion into Ethiopia. According to cables filtered by Wikileaks, it was more than a threat, and Egypt came to sabotage several ships with parts for the dam. Ethiopia yielded and dams were not built. Later in 2011 Egypt is immersed in a popular revolution that would end with the fall of the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Taking advantage of the chaos in Egypt, Ethiopia then begins the construction of the Great Egyptian Renaissance Dam. Once completed, it will be the largest power plant on the continent. This project is the culmination of an ambitious megaproject of modernization of its economy, mainly agricultural, towards a more industrialized economy focused on the exploitation and export of hydraulic energy. With this dam, Ethiopia aims to cope with the growing energy demand and favor its development because, in one third of the population has access to electricity. Egypt fears that this dam may limit its historical access to water. And, many fear that, without the Nile, there will be no Egypt. Currently, and based on agreements of British colonial origin Egypt corresponds to 75% of the flow of the Nile. The other 25% corresponds to Sudan. the only other major beneficiary of these colonial pacts In addition, this pacts granted Egypt veto power over the construction of any dam that could limit their reserves. These agreements have not been recognized by any upstream State, whose rapid population growth in recent years and its economic aspirations require greater participation of the Nile waters and rethinking the geopolitical board of the region. In the 8 years that have lasted since the negotiations, in which Egypt has come to threaten, unofficially, with military actions “as in the past” against Ethiopia, a definitive agreement has not yet been reached. Ethiopia has countered by offering the third party in discord, Sudan to control with the dam the periodic floods that the country suffers and some of the energy it produces. The other key point is how long does it take to fill the dam? Ethiopia wants to do it in the shortest possible time, but that would mean shutting the tap on the flow to Egypt. In its last meetings, Egypt insists that the filling of the dam be extended from 12 to 21 years, to continue to receive a constant flow similar to that before the dam was built. This seems unacceptable to Ethiopia. With this picture, the negotiations continue, although the mood is heated. Egypt has a lot to lose, and Ethiopia does not want to give up on what it considers a sovereign right. Regardless the agreement they reach, what is clear is that the GERD is going to change the Nile as we know it today.