Egypt is losing its grip on the Nile
9 April 2012
globalpost - April 9, 2012
CAIRO, Egypt and MARAWI, Ethiopia — Amid the barren, earth-dug canals and emaciated livestock that stalk the dirt roads of Ethiopia’s northern highlands, Teshale, a 25-year-old farmer, waits idly for the rain to come.
His small, parched field of maize — sometimes wheat, if the weather permits — relies solely on the area’s seasonal rainfall to produce its harvest, which fails to turn even a meager profit.
If Teshale could just harness some water from the mighty Blue Nile River nearby, which eventually cascades north to meet the White Nile in Sudan, flowing onward to Egypt, he might finally be able to halt his endless cycle of poverty, he says.
Until now, Ethiopia has lacked both the technical capacity and the diplomatic support to trap its Blue Nile waters — which give Egypt’s Nile 86 percent of its own flow — for domestic use. A 1959 colonial-era treaty brokered by Great Britain gave Egypt, and to a lesser extent Sudan, unrivaled “historic rights” over nearly all of the Nile River’s resources.
But now all that could be changing as upstream states like Ethiopia and Burundi seize on Egypt’s post-revolution political uncertainty to finally wrest at least some control of the world’s longest river.