Egyptian concerns about Ethiopia’s control over the Nile River

The Nile River extends to 11 African countries. For thousands of years, is was Egypt that controlled the river and used most of its waters. That may change over the coming years, as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) gives Ethiopia control of the River Nile.  

Ethiopia is building the multi-million (GERD) dam on the Blue Nile, near the border with Sudan. When this dam – the largest in all Africa – is completed, it will generate around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for both domestic use and export. 

The dam also helps Ethiopia take control over the flow river. Egypt fears that this may lead to a reduction in available water. Water scarcity is a serious issue in the north African nationThe Nile River provides Egypt with around three quarters of its water.  

In an extensive CNN report, Egypt’s experts, such as Aly El-Bahrawy, professor of hydraulics at Cairo's Ain Shams University, express their concerns. "It's like somebody has control over a tap. If the Ethiopian people for some reason want to reduce the amount of water coming to Egypt, it would be a great problem," says El-Bahrawy. 

The Egyptian government is taking steps to shore up the water supply by other means. As CNN reports, the country does so by “recycling agricultural drainage water and treated wastewater, increasing the number of desalination plants that supply coastal areas, and restricting the cultivation of water-intensive crops including rice, sugar cane and bananas. 

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