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The First Water War - a Real Threat

According to Wikipedia, per water conflicts, the United Nations (UN) recognizes that water disputes result from opposing interests of water users, public or private, but the international body admits that a "wide range of water conflicts appear throughout history, though rarely are traditional wars waged over water alone."

However, this long held supposition could change very soon barring any diplomatic agreement or compromise between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over water rights on the Horn of Africa. Therefore, a real threat of a hot war over water looms between these North African states.

Some 11 states are watered by the world's longest river, the Nile. Ethiopia has completed 60 percent of construction of Africa's largest dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, spanning the Nile's biggest tributary, the Blue Nile. The $5 billion hydro-electric project is set to propel Ethiopia as a major supplier of power in the region on completion of the 6,000 megawatts system. 

But Egypt, which historically has made a major claim to the waters  of the Nile, has not been happy with the project fearing it would reduce water supplies to Cairo. Rumors that Egypt would bomb the project by aircraft have swirled for a couple of years. Though Egypt has signed onto a feasibility study to look into any disruption or reduction of its precious water supply from the Nile, its objection to the project remains very high. Most of Egypt's water from the Nile originates in Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.

Ethiopia has vowed to complete the project at all costs. Yet, like Egypt, Sudan has also claims exclusive rights to the use of Nile water, thus broadening the likelihood of a water conflict. The Nile basin covers 11 countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.