Monday, June 10, 2013

Water Wars: Dam Blue Nile in Ethiopia

The Blue Nile which comes from the Ethiopian highlands supplies 50% of the water to the Nile in Egypt.  Construction of the Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia started in 2011, filling of the dam is expected to start in 2015 and completed by 2017.

Now Younis Makhyoun the head of Islamist Al-Nour party in Egypt, suggests the dam should be sabotaged.
“Egypt can coordinate with rebels in Ethiopia and use them as a bargaining chip with the Ethiopian government” Makhyoun said. “If this fails, then there is no choice but to use intelligence to destroy the dam.”
In 2011 the Economist commented
How will Ethiopia pay? Chinese banks are apparently underwriting the cost of turbines and other electrical equipment.

Neither the World Bank nor private investors are willing to put up the cash, since Ethiopia has failed to create partnerships with power companies in neighbouring countries to which it could sell electricity. The Nile's geology may be favourable for dam building, but the flow of money is not.
Background on Ethiopia
Ethiopian History starts around 700 BC and became Christian around 300 A.D.  It has been the only country (Abyssinia at that time) in  Africa that was not colonized by Europeans.  In 1936 Mussolini occupied part of Ethiopia.  The Italians formed the colony of Eritrea and approx 40K Italian colonists were settled in the colony.  Italys occupation ended after World War II.  The Eritrean war of Independence lasted 30 years (1961 – 1991). One of the British proposals was that Eritrea be divided along religious lines with the Christians to Ethiopia and the Muslims to Sudan. 

The Ethiopian Highlands called the Roof of Africa forms the largest continuous area where  little of its surface falls below 1500 m (4,921 ft), while the summits reach heights of up to 4550 m (14,928 ft). Because of the height these mountains catch the precipitation of the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean, resulting in a rainy season that lasts from June until mid-September. These heavy rains cause the Nile to flood in the summer, a phenomenon that puzzled the ancient Greeks, as the summer is the driest season in the Mediterranean climate that they knew.

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