Ethiopia is the source of the Blue Nile and contributes over 85 percent of the Nile streamflow. To this day, Egypt and Sudan are using 100 percent of the water, sticking to their 1959 colonial agreement between them not being signatories, Ethiopia and other upstream states do not recognize this agreement.
Ethiopia is on the eve of completing the Great Ethiopia Renaissance Dam. Costing over five billion US dollars that are being paid by ordinary Ethiopians.
The dam will generate 5.1 gigawatt of power and it is a non consumptive, eco friendly, existential necessity to millions. The three countries have been in dispute over the construction and operation of this dam, even thought this dam provides major benefits to Sudan and Egypt in terms of reducing evaporation, loss, silt, sedimentation and unexpected flood.
There are a couple of sticking points to this dispute. The most important one is Egypt’s demand that Ethiopia guarantees the filling and operation of the dam does not affect its current consumptive utilization. In other words, Egypt demands to maintain 100 percent consumptive use of the Nile by Sudan and Egypt, while Ethiopia gets zero percent.
What this means is Ethiopia would carry all the risks and devastating consequences of drought, while Egypt and Sudan maintain guaranteed 100 percent supply.
Egypt’s demand for the continuation of its exclusive consumptive control becomes shocking when relevant comparative realities of the two countries are examined.
Ethiopia’s population (117 million) is larger than Egypt’s (104 million) by about 13 million people.
Egypt’s GDP is almost four times bigger than Ethiopia’s.
Egypt has 55000 megawatts installed power capacity, while Ethiopia has 4600 megawatts, which is 12 times or 1200 percent more than Ethiopia.
100 percent of the population has access to electricity in Egypt, while only 45 percent of the population has access in Ethiopia
98 percent of Egyptians can access clean water, while only 42 percent of Ethiopians get clean water in Ethiopia.
Every Egyptian has access to clean cooking fuel technology, while only five percent of Ethiopians do.
Egypt has fifty-five point two cubic kilometers of fresh groundwater compared to Ethiopia’s 12000 cubic kilometers.
Egypt has unlimited access to seawater that it can turn to freshwater through desalination. While Ethiopia is landlocked and has no access to seawater.
This Dam is not just about generating power. It is a matter of survival for millions of Ethiopians who deserve a dignified life as their Egyptian counterparts.