Political Advocacy

The Canadian Egyptian Community beseeches the Government of Canada to lead the collaboration and negotiation efforts initiated by Egypt to reach an agreement between the Nile Bassin countries to equitable share scarce water resources.

A recommendation for collaboration to harvest rainfall to increase the Nile flow has been presented by leading scholars and researchers in Egypt as the only sustainable solution to the current impasse.

Summary of facts:

  • In 2011, Ethiopia started building its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with a substantial volume of 10.5 million m3.
  • The GERD is located 700 km northeast of the Capital, Addis Ababa, on the Blue Nile and 20 km from the Ethiopia-Sudan border.
  • The Blue Nile accounts for more than 50% of the Nile water’s average annual flow to Egypt.
  • Ethiopia claims that the purpose of the dam is for generating energy; however, experts indicate that the GERD’s energy production is slated for exportation and will not improve the quality of life for Ethiopians.
  • The GERD has a 74 billion cubic meter reservoir, which can store as much water as the total annual share of Egypt and Sudan combined! It will hold water in an 1800 square meter (larger than London), resulting in enormous evaporation and seepage losses.
  • This will cause losses of billions of cubic meters of water from Egypt’s and Sudan’s share.
  • Egypt is dropping below the water poverty line and approaching the absolute scarcity limit, which will have disastrous consequences for its 100 million inhabitants who depend on the Nile for 97% of their water needs.
  1. 8-Furthermore, water shortage caused by the GERD will affect food production, security and the amount of electricity produced by the Aswan Dam.
  • It will also lead to higher soil salinity, less groundwater recharge and more seawater intrusion.

Ethiopia’s filing and long-term operation of the GERD will reduce the water level at the Aswan Dam. Experts have estimated that a reduction of just 1 billion cubic meters of water (which is much lower than the losses predicted) will result in a $430 000 000 losses in agriculture, loss of 294 000 acres in agricultural land and a loss of income for 290 000 families which will be forced to migrate causing further instability.

The solution proposed by Egypt encourages the Nile Bassin countries to collaborate in making use of the 1660 billion cubic meters of annual rainfall in the Nile Bassin to generate energy and food production as opposed to affecting the primary source of water in Egypt, which only receives 0.8% of the total rainfall of the 11 Nile Bassin countries through the flow of the river water.