The London-sized mega-dam that threatens an international war

The London-sized mega-dam that threatens an international war
The London-sized mega-dam that threatens an international war

In recent years, geopolitical tensions in many parts of the world have led to armed conflicts that They have blown up the stability that reigned – to a greater or lesser extent – at a global level.

So far, all conflicts have been marked by the struggle for territories (legitimately or illegitimately claimed by one or the other), raw materials such as oil or gas, which are essential in everyday life in today’s world, or to a lesser extent, but recently very recurrent, fights for control of areas rich in lithium or rare earths, which are highly sought after today.

But so far, a vital commodity such as water has not been the trigger for any armed conflict… until now, which could break out sooner rather than later. The reason? The construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam, which has been underway in Ethiopia since 2011.

This has caused Egypt to take action on the matter, as they consider that the negative impact it could have on their interests would be incalculable, and for a few months now, the tension between the two countries has increased considerably, and already has threatened to retaliate with an armed response.

Water: a vital commodity in a critical situation

On the one hand, it is true that Each country can exploit the resources within its borders, as much as you want as long as the – in many cases lax – international legality is respected. But this exploitation may, in certain cases, also affect other countries, This is a more than likely reason for escalation of tension between states.

In this specific case, when talking about water, we must take into account some key aspects, such as the extreme phenomena that are occurring throughout the world as a consequence of climate change. These are increasingly affecting daily life on a global level: unprecedented droughts, storms and floods, or waste and squandering of huge quantities of water.

In order to alleviate and ensure the basic needs of their populations, all countries choose to lift dams that can retain water and regulate the increasingly unpredictable flows.

Returning to the subject of the Ethiopian dam, whose construction began in 2011, it should be noted that It has dimensions the size of Londontwo kilometres long and with locks up to 145 metres high. It has become the largest dam in all of Africa, and during the past year reached its maximum reservoir water level.

Among the benefits that Ethiopia hopes to gain from this dam is the fact that it will double the country’s electricity generation, being able to provide electricity to 60% of its population (70 million people) and be able to export part of it to its neighbouring countries.

The Nile, a source of conflict

But if we focus on the main problem that its construction has unleashed, we find the fact that the dam concentrates around the 85% of the Nile’s flow which flows into Egypt, something that could cause the water level to decrease until it puts some of the main sectors in jeopardy, such as cotton production or even human supply during harsh and long periods of drought.

In light of this situation, Cairo has already denounced that The flow of the Nile has decreased by around 2% in recent years, and could worsen to the point of causing the disappearance of 800 square kilometres of land.

Egypt appeals to the agreements reached in 1929 and 1959which established the water quotas belonging to each country, as well as Egypt’s right to veto projects of this type. Despite the agreement being in force, this treaty was not recognized by Ethiopia. This position has met with total opposition from E.The US, which in the past threatened Addis Ababa with cutting off humanitarian aid sent by Washington.

With all these conditions, a new scenario is opening up at a global level, which could end with the start of a new armed conflict in Africa and which could have serious consequences and spread around the world, as may be the case with China or India.

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