98% of Egypt's Fresh Water is imported, an Ethiopian Dam brings change

National Geographic has a post on a new dam on the Nile River in Ethiopia.

Water Wars: Egyptians Condemn Ethiopia's Nile Dam Project

Aerial photograph of the Blue Nile river in Northern Ethiopia.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam along the Nile has ignited a water debate between Egypt and Ethiopia.

Photograph by Cameron Davidson, Corbis

As the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam takes shape, tempers rise.



What caught my eye was how much fresh water is imported to Egypt.

A total of "98 percent of Egypt's freshwater comes from outside its borders, and it has exceptionally little leverage," said Angus Blair, an economic and political analyst at Cairo's Signet Institute.

Besides the water supply the dam will change power generation capacities.

Egypt fears that storing water behind the Ethiopian dam will reduce the capacity of its own Lake Nasser (thereby reducing the power-generating capacity of Egypt's giant hydroelectric plant at Aswan). Ethiopian officials have sought to allay fears by pointing out that storing water in the cooler climes of the Ethiopian lowlands will ensure much less water is lost to evaporation, but Egyptians are unconvinced.

"The production of electricity at the Aswan High Dam is likely to drop by almost 40 percent should the Ethiopian dam be built," concluded Nader Noureddin, a professor of agriculture at Cairo University.