Ethiopia: controversial dam puts Nile Basin collaboration on hold
Updated - Wednesday 21 November 2012
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Photo: Salini Costruttori
Egypt fears a significant reduction in its share of water from the Nile when the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is completed in 2015. Ethiopia says its neighbour’s share of water is not in danger. An international panel of experts is due to deliver a report on the dam’s impact in May 2013.
A new book  published by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food suggests there is enough water in the Nile for all 10 countries it flows through, as long as sound pro-poor water management policies are implemented.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will become Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, turning Ethiopia, with the help of Chinese funding, into a major regional exporter of electricity. A 2010 Wikileaks report revealed that Egypt and Sudan were taking drastic precautions to protect their share of Nile waters. The two countries were building an airbase in Sudan to launch attacks on Ethiopian dams should negotiations over water rights fail.
While Egypt and Sudan are members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) partnership, they have refused to sign the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) drafted in 2010. Both countries are reluctant to give up their rights to the bulk of the Nile’s water that they were awarded in colonial treaties.
 Bekele, S., Smakhtin, V., Molden, D. and Peden, D. (eds.), 2012. The Nile River Basin: Water, agriculture, governance and livelihoods. UK: Routledge. Order online: www.routledge.com/books/details/9781849712835
Related web sites:
- Wikipedia – Nile Basin Initiative | Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
- IWMI Nile Basin and East Africa sub-regional office
- International Rivers - Ethiopia’s Dam Boom
- Water: Enough in the Nile to share, little to waste, IRIN, 16 Nov 2012
- Hannah Waddilove, Cross-border resource management: How do the Nile countries fare?, This is Africa, 15 Nov 2012
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