Sudanese hope Ethiopian dam ends Blue Nile floods

Juref Gharb (Sudan): The Blue Nile is a renegade river, according to Sudanese farmer Osman Idris, its unpredictable flooding swallows crops and houses as it crashes through Sudan from Ethiopia on its way to Egypt. “Tonight, the level of water will be low,” said Idris, a resident of Juref Gharb, a small village on the bank of the Blue Nile outside Khartoum.

“Tomorrow, it will swallow all the houses... It’s a renegade river, it rises so fast,” said the 60-year-old, dressed in a traditional Sudanese robe. For Idris, Ethiopa’s construction of a controversial dam on the Blue Nile is a dream come true, as it promises to regulate the floods that inundate Sudan every rainy season. This year alone, flash flooding has killed more than 60 and injured dozens in Sudan. The Blue Nile joins the White Nile in Khartoum and supplies the overwhelming majority of the Nile’s water, which runs through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.

Construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam began in 2012, but since then Egypt has sounded the alarm that the project would severely reduce its water supplies. Egypt depends on the Nile for about 90 per cent of its irrigation and drinking water, and says it has “historic rights” to the river guaranteed by treaties from 1929 and 1959. It sees the project as an existential threat, fearing Ethiopia’s rapid construction of the dam might lead to water and food scarcity for millions of Egyptians.

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