Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The Dammed River Nile

The Nile is the disputed longest river in the world (Brazilians say the Amazon is longer). 280 million people from 11 different countries live along the Nile and largely depend on it for water. Any disruption to the Nile's ecosystem could have devastating consequences not only for the Nile but for the millions of people who depend on it for their survival.

Since 2011 Ethiopia has been constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. When completed the dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. The dam's reservoir will take at least 5 years to fill. The reduction of water downstream from the dam while it is being filled and the subsequent permanent reduction because of evaporation from the reservoir will probably have negative impacts on Sudan and Egypt. The Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and silt of the Nile in Sudan and Egypt. Without that water and silt both Sudan and Egypt could experience permanent food insecurity.

In Saving the Nile Al Jazeera takes a close look at the impact that large dams, like the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, can have on the Nile. Using maps, satellite imagery, tables and charts Al Jazeera examines the possible effect on Egypt from the building of the Ethiopian dam. Sudan and Egypt will not only be effected by the reduction of water from the dam. Both countries are worried that the reduction of silt will impoverish the fertile land along the Nile ensuring that neither country will be able to grow the food that they need to survive.

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