Water war


A dispute is growing between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile River water, even though the countries don’t share a common border. Ethiopia is building a dam that, Egypt says, will draw heavily on water that feeds the Nile.

Egypt draws an estimated 95 percent of its water from the Nile. Ethiopia, a severely underdeveloped country, claims that it has a right to the water and hydroelectric capacity of the Nile.

The dam it is building is scheduled to come online in 2017. Ethiopia and other headwater countries are advancing a new treaty to take the place of a 1959 Nile accord that tends to favor Egypt.

Given its domestic political turmoil, Egypt is ill-equipped to take military action to defend its position. Egypt and Ethiopia are talking; the countries need to find agreement on Nile water-sharing to improve life and maintain peace in the northeast corner of Africa.

It won’t be easy. It never has been.