Ethiopia’s parliament has approved a measure to push ahead with its Nile River dam project while changing a colonial-era deal that gave Egypt and Sudan majority stake in the great river.
Ethiopia’s 547-member parliament unanimously agreed on Thursday to ratify the Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement, which states that a committee must be established to oversee Nile projects - including the controversial $4.7-billion hydroelectric dam in Ethiopia.
Meanwhile, Egyptian lawmakers fear the new dam will diminish their share of the Nile, which provides the desert nation almost all of its water needs.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has vowed that no one will stop the building of the multi-billion-dollar energy project, which is diverting the flow of the river.
A ten-man panel of experts has found that the dam will not significantly affect Egypt or Sudan.
The Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement was made to replace the 1929 British treaty that awarded Egypt veto power over Nile projects.
In 1959, Sudan and Egypt signed a contract that divided the Nile waters between them, while disregarding the rights of other countries. Egypt faces a water crisis as its population increases.
In the 1960s, the average water share per person was 2,800 cubic meters. Now, the figure has dropped to 600 cubic meters, much below the poverty line, which is 1,000 cubic meters per person.