Gwynne Dyer wrote a recent opinion piece published by the New Zealand Herald that is well worth a read. In it he outlines the potential geopolitical instability that may be caused by Ethiopia’s plans to build a massive dam on the Blue Nile (upstream from Egypt).
Water is clearly becoming a resource of international significance, a resource that is increasing in short supply; or is it? The supply of fresh water has changed little in the last several thousand years. What has changed in the last few decades is the demand due to the needs and wants of a ever increasing human population.
Gwynne clearly notes that population of Egypt has increased 6 fold in the last 90 years, and that of Ethiopia has increased 8 fold in the same time. With the populations of both nations (and those surrounding them) continuing to grow the demand for water can only increase. Economic development and food security (one the main purposes of such dam projects) are both extremely important in improving the lives of the millions of people in these nations, but, equally important is the need for family planning. Without achieving the latter the former will forever be out of the grasp of many in the region.