A report in this paper that the total water storage capacity of the country has gone down by 29 percent in part due to dwindling storage of large dams is quite chilling. The big dams including Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma have greatly lost their storage capacity due to silting. There are limitations in removing the silt. Thus, it is obvious that new reservoirs like Kalabagh must be built.
Electricity is a key to Ethiopia’s future. However, historically, proposed exploitation of these resources has brought it in to diplomatic conflict with downstream states, namely Egypt. Now Ethiopia has more successfully levied its regional diplomatic power to ensure the Egyptian government is no longer able to block its attempts to produce the hydroelectric power and irrigation necessary to power its growing economy.
I was glad to see more than 200 people in the audience for a discussion on water, peace, and security on the margins of the 67th meetings of the UN General Assembly yesterday. The United States, the European Union, and UN-Water co-sponsored the event, which drew senior representatives from governments, UN agencies, and international financial institutions.
The Dutch government has set up a new Water Diplomacy Consortium to help resolved water conflicts around the world. Conflict over water is an increasing problem all over the world and the Netherlands has a unique combination of expertise in water management and international law.
“Since last year, we have partnered with NGOs like World Vision to sink boreholes in the affected areas so that residents can have enough water for their livestock and domestic use. We also encourage them to use the water to grow vegetables and maize to complement livestock keeping.”