JUNE 30, 2021

While there are currently no ballot measures at issue in the United States regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that the American electorate needs to be informed about, it is good for the American electorate to be informed enough to choose leaders who will not stoke a conflict between two foreign nations (nor stoke a conflict between the country and one of its territories). It’s not good to put stressors on an ally who can broker a fragile ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Neither is it good to put undue stress on another ally who hosts the headquarters of the African Union, a body that organizes a continent of 1.4 billion people.
A decade-long infrastructure project built on the Blue Nile River, the GERD opened July of last year, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, and will be the seventh largest hydroelectric plant in the world. It promises to unite and electrify Ethiopia, bringing the nation’s people into the 21st century; reduce seasonal flooding in Sudan; and provide additional power reserves to Egypt and other members of the Nile Basin Initiative. Yet Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan, the three nations through which the Nile flows, have yet to strike an agreement regarding when and how quickly to fill the dam. Ethiopia has begun unilaterally, and is prepared to continue unilaterally. Egypt is resistant to any activity that would drastically reduce its Nile water share, and cites a 1929 treaty between Egypt and other Nile Basin countries that was sponsored by Great Britain. However, Ethiopia was never party to that treaty.
The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have been invited to facilitate talks between the three nations. While some progress has been made, no definitive treaty has been signed, and the African Union remains to supervise the construction of a peaceable arrangement. 
While there are struggles within and struggles between these countries of the Nile region over political power and natural resources, a thought occurs: how has the 15-member team of Ethiopian, Egyptian and Sudanese scientists factored global climate change into the gradual filling of the dam? An increase in global temperature, water evaporation, crop irrigation needs, and potable water for humans and livestock will adversely impact the rate at which the dam may be filled, resulting in a reduction in the benefit to all stakeholders.
“Water is the new oil.” Those who do not tread lightly will see destabilizing wars in the region, and all the terror that wars portend.