Ethiopia diverts Nile flow, Egypt says no impact
May 30, 2013
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia started to divert the flow of the Blue Nile river to construct a giant dam on Tuesday, according to its state media, in a move that could impact the Nile-dependent Egypt.
Downstream nations Egypt and Sudan have objected to the construction, saying it violates a colonial-era agreement which gives Egypt nearly 70 percent of Nile River waters. Egypt says its population of 90 million is among the largest in Africa and that unlike other Nile Basin countries, it does not have readily available alternative water sources.
Ethiopia says the dam will not affect Egypt and that the 1959 agreement ignores the needs of five upriver countries. Some 84 percent of the water from the world's longest river originates in Ethiopia.
The Blue Nile is one of two major tributaries of the river. The White Nile, flowing through Sudan, is the other.
Egypt's presidency said Tuesday that it is awaiting a report by the Tripartite Nile Basin Committee, comprised of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, to determine its next steps. President Mohammed Morsi's spokesman downplayed concerns from the move, saying it will not have a negative impact the amount of Nile water reaching Egypt.
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