As the construction of the “renaissance” dam is nearing completion, Egyptian farmers are already feeling the impact of this project on their crops.
Under the shade of a tree, Mohamed Omar joined other farmers who were arguing about who would water his field first, while water from the Nile is scarce.
Mohamed Ahmed, an Egyptian farmer and beneficiary of the Nile waters said: “When I discover it (the dam) would affect the amount of water, I worry. Not only me, but we’re all worried. It will be a devastation for all of us.”
We wait for each other to irrigate, which causes problems between us for who will irrigate first, some wait 20 or 30 days. Lack of water puts pressure on us because we all want to irrigate our crops because they are at risk of rotting. It would cause losses.
Another farmer, Ahmed Said, disclosed that the realities of the negative impact of the dam had already started manifesting: “Water was available every day for anyone to irrigate, but now we irrigate in rotation.
“We wait for each other to irrigate, which causes problems between us for who will irrigate first, some wait 20 or 30 days. Lack of water puts pressure on us because we all want to irrigate our crops because they are at risk of rotting. It would cause losses,” he stressed.
Egypt has been in a serious water crisis for years, due to population growth from 35 million in 1970 to 100 million today and also due to climate change. The Blue Nile supplies the country with most of its water for domestic use.
Egypt hosted talks with Sudan and Ethiopia on Monday and Tuesday on the rational management of the Nile River following the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, GERD.
Despite, Egyptians fearing the negative impact of this dam, Ethiopia has stated strongly that it was not going to retreat in its efforts to complete and operationalize the dam.
Sudan on the other hand who are beneficiaries of the dam and also have concerns are however torn between considering the energy benefits that they are likely to get from the GERD.
The latest round of talks between the three parties was after a November meeting convened in Washington, where the respective delegations met with President Trump and Secretary of the treasury, agreeing to resolve all differences.