The Nile. The longest river in the world. And each country that it passes through wants to harness its power. In Ethiopia, a monster of concrete and steel is emerging on the banks of the Nile. The country wants the ‘Grand Renaissance Dam’ to be the driving force in its
economic rebirth. It will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa and will ensure Ethiopia’s energy independence, in a country where electricity demand is
rising by 30 percent each year. The problem: the Nile is not just Ethiopia’s, and it’s causing concern downstream in Egypt, a nation that has long controlled
the Nile power with its impressive Assouan Dam. To understand the potential
impact of the Ethiopian dam, one has to go to the Nile Delta. It’s the breadbasket of Egypt, home to 30 million people. Locals here worry for their whole way of life. “When the dam is finished our lives will be a misery. With the water now I can look after my fields but with this dam, the situation will get worse.” To cushion the blow, the Egyptian government has asked
farmers to look for alternative crops? Ones that aren’t so greedy for water. “Last year, we had rice everywhere here, but today we are required to plant other crops that consume less water, like cotton and corn.” Negotiations are underway with Sudan and Ethiopia to find a compromise. Egypt has proposed that the dam be filled over eight years, to minimize the lower water levels in the river. But Ethiopia won’t accept it
taking longer than four.