The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Nile

Sarah Lazarus, CNN

Published 5:57 AM ET, Fri October 19, 2018
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The Nile River provides Egypt with around three quarters of its water. As well as being a vital resource, the river plays an important role in Egypt's culture and sense of identity. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Once finished, Ethiopia's new dam will be the largest in Africa, measuring 1,800 meters (1.1 miles) in length and 155 meters (508 feet) high. Courtesy of Salini Impregilo
The dam's reservoir will be large enough to hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. It will be used to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity a year. Egypt's fear is that the dam puts control of the Nile's flow into Ethiopia's hands, and may lead to a reduction in available water. ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Canals and irrigation ditches cut into the sides of the River Nile provide Egypt with its only fertile land -- a green strip of vegetation that lines the river's banks. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Beyond the narrow strip of vegetation is a vast expanse of barren desert. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images)
As well as providing water for agriculture and domestic use, the Nile provides local fishermen with a livelihood. AFP Contributor/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Workers from mango farms in Egypt's Giza Governorate travel home along the Nile by boat at the end of the day. MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
These traditional wooden sailing boats, with their triangluar-shaped sails, have been cruising the River Nile for centuries. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Scarcity is not Egypt's only water-related problem -- the deteriorating quality of the Nile's water is also an issue. Garbage has piled up on the river's banks in the village of Abou Shosha, 370 miles south of Cairo . KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Egypt's own very large dam -- the High Aswan Dam -- was built between 1960 and 1970. Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images