Egypt: 'We Will Die' if New Dam Dries Nile Water
Ethiopian hydropower dam gets Egypt's back up
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2014 2:56 PM CDT
Ethiopia's Tekeze Hydropower project.   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) – Egypt is none too pleased about Ethiopia's massive dam project on the River Nile, the BBC reports. The dam will be Africa's biggest hydropower dam when it's completed in a few years. But Egypt relies almost completely on the Nile for water and says the dam threatens its supply. "It is a matter of life or death, a national security issue that can never be compromised on," says an Egyptian official. By 2020, he added, Egypt will require all of its assigned 55 billion cubic meters of Nile water annually for basic needs.

Talks between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan collapsed when Egypt demanded that work on the dam be halted while experts assess its effects, BusinessWeek reports. Still, Ethiopia calls the project "win win," and Sudan wants the electricity it will be able to buy cheaply when the dam is functional in about 18 months. Egypt's opposition has blocked Ethiopia's access to foreign credit, an official says, but Ethiopia is plowing ahead, trying to meet the rising energy demands of its rapidly growing economy. "With even less water, we will die," says an Egyptian farmer. "We can't survive."