Quarrel Over Nile River Water


African nations along the Nile River are quarrelling over water rights of the world’s longest river.  Up to now Egypt and Sudan have been allowed most of the river’s water. The Blue Nile starts in the highlands of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world. A new hydroelectricpower plant was built to help Ethiopia irrigate its fields and stop a chronic shortage of food. Farmers say it is their right to take more of the water that once flowed down to Egypt.

Egypt and Sudan, on the other hand, say they have the right to access most of the river’s water, according to a treaty signed in the colonial era. Some politicians in bordering countries say that Egypt and Sudan have had water rights for a long time. They think that treaties that were signed long ago are invalid.


In 1999 nine Nile basin countries started talks on redistributing the Nile’s water more equally among the countries. The conference has come to a standstill because Egypt and Sudan claim they have a veto right over any project that will affect the water flow of water to their countries.


Even without Egypt and Sudan five upstream nations signed a treaty last May that would grant them more rights to use the Nile’s water. The fight for one of mankind’s basic resources continues.


Map of the Blue Nile

Map of the Blue Nile


Related Topics




  • according to = as shown by something or someone
  • affect = influence, change
  • basic = most important, necessary
  • basin = an area from which all the water flows into the same river
  • bordering = nearby, neighbouring
  • chronic = never-ending, permanent
  • claim = to say officially
  • colonial = time when European countries ruled in other parts of the world
  • equally = evenly, the same
  • flow = run
  • grant = give
  • hydroelectric power plant = a large building built in the middle of a river that uses water power to produce electricity
  • invalid = not legal any more , worthless
  • irrigate = to bring water to the fields
  • mankind = all people
  • quarrel = fight
  • redistribute = to divide something up in a new way
  • resource = things that exist in nature and that we need to survive
  • right = what you are allowed to have or do
  • shortage = not enough of something
  • sign = to put your name on a document
  • standstill = a situation in which no progress is being made
  • treaty = a written document signed by two people or countries
  • upstream = up the river, in direction of its starting point
  • veto = the right to say no to something