What are the impacts on Egypt if Ethiopia builds a dam on the Nile River?Socially, economically, environmentally
In the month of April 2011, Ethiopia made an announcement that it plans to put up four huge dams on River Nile. One among the four dams is the largest dam in the entire world. It is known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which was formerly Grand Millennium Dam or Project X. This large dam is supposed to flood 1,680 km2 of the forested area in the northwest Ethiopia, which borders Sudan and then it creates a reservoir which is nearly two times the size of Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s biggest natural lake. The entire budget, 5billion US dollars, for the project is quite abnormal for a country like Ethiopia for it equals the annual budget (Kendie, 2002).
With no greater oversight, this secretive dam in Ethiopia could end up harming environment, social and political situations. The dam poses a real threat on both Egypt and Sudan. It will activate seismic activity resulting due to high amounts of silt being withheld in the dam. The silt deposits are approximated to weigh tons of about 63 billion. Eventually these deposits could trigger a fierce seismic activity forming cracks causing the Dam to collapse and this would result to a very disastrous overflow sweeping all dams along Blue Nile, other dams on River Nile, the dam known as Jebel Aulia until it reaches the High dam which is in Egypt (El-Fadel, El-Sayegh, El-Fadl, Khorbotly, 2003).
Another possible damage that will be faced by both Sudan and Egypt is associated with the present global climatic alteration, although scientists are yet to identify the degree with which it could affect Nile Basin area and the extent to which rainfall would decrease in the plateau of Abyssinian which yields 84% revenue in the Nile region (Ronald, 2003). This will reduce the Dam capacity and the three nations will suffer. The planning of the project has been done behind closed curtains. Its contract was given without aggressive bidding. Furthermore, all the details for the project remained undisclosed until preparations of the sites began.
One of major drawbacks is that, no external funders are interested in the project and this vividly shows how the project will end up being a nuisance and also considering that Ethiopia is ranked second in the world’s recipients of foreign aid. The project will be faced by more demerits than merits and would propagate bad blood between Ethiopia and Egypt. It is true that a flawed project will hardly yield any substantial success; therefore Ethiopia should put everything about the project into light and see the best way forward as far as its neighbors are concerned.
Anonymous, ‘New Nile water agreement a threat to Egypt’ 82.7 (2010): 14.
David, Ronald, ‘The cross and the river: Ethiopia, Egypt and the Nile,’ Domes, 12.1, (2003): 47- 49.
David, Kendie, ‘Egypt and the hydro-politics of the Blue Nile River, Northeast Africa Studies, 6.1 (2002): 141-169.
El-Fadel, Y El-Sayegh, El-Fadl, D Khorbotly, ‘The Nile River Basin: A case study in surface water conflict resolution, Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education. 32, (2003): p.107.