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Water War? Ethiopia building large dam on the Nile

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
29,491
2,994
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I'll preface this by saying water scarcity is a very real thing. Clean water, that is. And in our life times it will become a major issue again. The 20th century may have revolutionized the distribution of water across entire continents, but as our population grows we'll still surpass our limits years before the inevitable consequences rain hell down upon us.

CNN: Is Ethiopia taking control of the River Nile?
How much time Ethiopia will spend filling the dam's reservoir is a critical issue for Egypt and has been the focus of recent negotiations. The quicker the fill, the less water will be released downstream during that time.

"Technically, they could fill it in three years," says Kevin Wheeler of the Environmental Change Institute at the UK's University of Oxford. "Egypt would prefer a longer time range of around 10 years."

The weather is another key factor. "If there's an alignment between the filling and a drought, then even a slow fill could be problematic," says Wheeler.

This is the sort of thing wars are fought over. Water is life. Access to water is your right to live or not. And if two nations claim the same water? Well then.... guess what happens next? Everything could be fine between these two nations, for this specific endeavor. Or it might escalate into violence.

But this is the sort of issue we'll face more commonly throughout this century. Cape Town's "day zero" is but a taste of the future for us, but that at least involves just one nation and their internal planning. The river Nile involves several African nations having to negotiate for the future...over something that's almost non negotiable. Problem is, they cannot both grow off the same resource. It cannot support everyone. Therein lies our conflict.
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
7,867
4,865
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I suspect Ethiopia wouldn't want to poke the hornet's nest beyond what it has already. Even with Egypt being the mess it is, Ethiopia can't exactly afford to escalate to a trade war, let alone a physical war.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,121
13,062
136
Uh ... how does Egypt feel about this ?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Army

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_National_Defense_Force

Army half their size to start with. Plus egypt has ... you know ... guns. And experience. And technology. Useful stuff too, like planes, tanks, bombs.

I hear that stuff is really convenient to have, in a war.
They also have no border with Ethiopia & non-existent amphibious capabilities. They'd need Sudan to go along with any military adventures.

I seriously doubt that it will come to anything like that.
 
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KB

Diamond Member
Nov 8, 1999
5,094
152
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They also have no border with Ethiopia & non-existent amphibious capabilities. They'd need Sudan to go along with any military adventures.

I seriously doubt that it will come to anything like that.
I doubt Sudan would prove a roadblock. They barely survived a civil war. Also Egypt is their closest ally in the region and Sudan would be affected by any Nile diversion.

"Egypt and Sudan have enjoyed intimate and longstanding historical ties, seeing as they are each other's closest allies in the North African region." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Sudan
 

Pohemi420

Platinum Member
Oct 2, 2004
2,823
522
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This (wars waged and fought over clean water) was only a matter of time. Unlike oil, humans cannot live without access to clean water. People will be motivated to fight for it by the prospect of dying from dehydration. It's not going to be fun, but it's kind of inevitable with the rapid population increase, especially in undeveloped nations with more limited resources.
 

GagHalfrunt

Lifer
Apr 19, 2001
25,301
1,993
126
They also have no border with Ethiopia & non-existent amphibious capabilities. They'd need Sudan to go along with any military adventures.
No, they wouldn't. They have an air force and the capability to blow up the dam at any point. And then Ethiopia is left with no border with Egypt & non-existent amphibious capabilities. They'd need Sudan to go along with any military adventures.
 

hal2kilo

Lifer
Feb 24, 2009
15,236
3,473
136
This (wars waged and fought over clean water) was only a matter of time. Unlike oil, humans cannot live without access to clean water. People will be motivated to fight for it by the prospect of dying from dehydration. It's not going to be fun, but it's kind of inevitable with the rapid population increase, especially in undeveloped nations with more limited resources.
Throw in global warming induced drought and folks we ain't seen nothing yet. This has caused the loss and destruction of civilizations (think Mayans as most obvious).
 

mect

Platinum Member
Jan 5, 2004
2,077
984
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Throw in global warming induced drought and folks we ain't seen nothing yet. This has caused the loss and destruction of civilizations (think Mayans as most obvious).
In some ways, I would think a dam in Indonesia could be beneficial for Egypt once the reservoir was filled and as long as the two nations cooperated. A reservoir would allow them to smooth out some of the effects of global warming.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,121
13,062
136
No, they wouldn't. They have an air force and the capability to blow up the dam at any point. And then Ethiopia is left with no border with Egypt & non-existent amphibious capabilities. They'd need Sudan to go along with any military adventures.
As I said, I doubt it will come to that. The issue isn't the existence of the dam but rather the rate at which it is filled & how much downstream water will be affected in the process & in the future. It's entirely possible to manage water resources in ways that benefit all the parties involved. I doubt any of them will turn stupid no matter how much a sensationalist media plays up the possibility.
 

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