The Nile River gives life to Egypt and its people. However, something Ethiopia is doing is giving Egypt and enormous headache.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled last Sunday that the laws that governed the election of the country’s only operating house of Parliament as well as the body that drafted the country’s post revolutionary Constitution were invalid, according to the New York Times. Unfortunately, Ethiopia was already giving Egypt an enormous headache as they started construction on a hydroelectric dam.
On May 28th, Ethiopia started diverting the flow of the Blue Nile in order to start construction on what would be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, which has enraged people of Egypt.
The people of Egypt are enraged as since 1929 there has been an agreement that gives most of the rights to the Nile to Egypt and Sudan. The agreement gives Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters and Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters of 84 billion cubic meters, with 10 billion lost to evaporation, according to Fox New. The problem is the agreement never took in to account the other countries that the river flows through.
Ethiopia Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnin in a ceremony marking the diversion stated that the dam will not affect the flow of the Blue Nile.
However, Cairo University Alaa el-Zawahri, who is a dams engineer and an expert on a national committee studying the ramifications of the Ethiopian dam, stated that Egypt stands to lose 15 billion cubic meters of water a year thanks to the enormous Ethiopian headache.
“If I was more of an optimist, I would say it will cause significant damage to Egypt,” he said in an interview. “If I was being pessimistic, it is a catastrophe.”
Egypt’s previous two leaders threatened war, but the current regime is trying to solve things peacefully. One of the tactics that Egypt used was to lobby the United State, which convinced the World Bank and other donors to not give Ethiopia a loan as the dam would destabilize the region. That worked and Ethiopia was forced to self fund the construction, but that had dire consequences for some.
Ethiopia has pressed government employees to donate a month’s salary to the project. Those who resisted were arrested.
Also, journalist Reeyot Alemu criticized the government’s fund raising methods and was subsequently was arrested and sentenced to two years in jail.
My recommendation to Ethiopia is to try to find another way to generate electricity. One of the things that been catching in the U.S. is the use of wind mills to produce electricity. Also, there are solar panels that can provide electricity, which would be good for the country considering the amount of sunlight the region gets.
In the end, if Ethiopia doesn’t find away to resolve the enormous headache that they have given Egypt there will be dire consequences as the people of the country has shown it isn’t taking crap from anyone anymore.