For 1000s of Years, Egypt Controlled the Nile. A New Dam Threatens That

“Without the Nile, there is no Egypt. Egyptians have been the masters of the river for thousands of years. But the Nile has never been under such strain. Pollution, climate change and Egypt’s soaring population are taking an immense toll. Now Egypt is sparring with Ethiopia over a giant dam being built 2,000 miles upriver. Time is running out. Can they find a solution to avoid a wider conflict?”

“MINYA, Egypt — The Egyptian farmer stood in his dust-blown field, lamenting his fortune. A few years ago, wheat and tomato-filled greenhouses carpeted the land. Now the desert was creeping in.

“Look,” he said, gesturing at the sandy soil and abandoned greenhouses. “Barren.”

The farmer, Hamed Jarallah, attributed his woes to dwindling irrigation from the overtaxed Nile, the fabled river at the heart of Egypt’s very identity. Already, the Nile is under assault from pollution, climate change and Egypt’s growing population, which officially hits 100 million people this month.”

Declan Walsh and Somini Sengupta report for the New York Times with graphics by Jeremy White and photographs by Laura Boushnak February 9, 2020.