Water is a primary natural resource that the human race cannot live without. Nations worldwide use water for irrigation, agriculture, energy, and science to feed the growing global population.

The rise in population across several countries makes the demand for natural resources such as water even greater. With climate change becoming more frequent, access to water becomes a top priority worldwide.

Countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Iran, and Afghanistan are growingly becoming intertwined with various conflicts over access to water—making wars much more likely in the future.

Ethiopia and Egypt

Ethiopia and Egypt, two of the oldest countries on the African continent, currently have some of the fastest-rising populations on earth. Both countries rely on the Blue Nile River to sustain their respective economies.

Egypt, which centers the country’s identity and history on intertwining with the Nile River, conflicts with Ethiopia’s plans towards the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam started construction in 2011, with the first filling of water into the reservoir from the Blue Nile in July 2020, and the dam produced electricity in February 2022. Egypt has strongly objected to and condemned Addis Ababa’s construction of the dam as Cairo, which is undergoing a significant economic crisis, states they need the upstream river to feed their rapidly growing younger population.

The Nile, which accounts for over 90% of Egypt’s water supply, is the country’s lifeline. Nonetheless, Ethiopia, historically underdeveloped, is also relying on the GERD project to lift tens of millions of Ethiopians out of poverty.