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I am an Australian freelance journalist focussing on conflicts, politics, and warzones around the world. I have been working as a journalist for over 5 years, having reported from Australia, Germany, China, Egypt, Palestine, and Ukraine. I am especially interested in the way that new technologies are being used in conflict zones in unexpected and often disturbing ways. During my time working as a journalist, I also co-founded open-source war reporting site Conflict News.
According to the UN, as well numerous think tanks, resource scarcity caused by climate change will invariably lead to international conflict. Predicting where these flashpoints will be, as well as what the 'breaking points' for nations are, will become an important part of the global security industry in the next few decades.
While finding these flashpoints across such long time frames is sometimes impossible, in other cases they are glaringly obvious. Such is the case of the River Nile.
Long the source of prosperity for the civilizations that grew along its banks, the River Nile has in the modern day allowed Egypt to grow to have an unsustainably large population. For a country thar is almost entirely desert, Egypt depends almost exclusively on this single water source. But its access to this water source is under threat.
Far upstream, in Ethiopia, one of Africa's largest infrastructure projects is under construction. Called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, this structure will cut off large amounts of the flow of the Blue Nile while it fills up. This process, which would take years, will cause a significant disruption of water to Egypt — so much so that in the worst case scenario, Egypt could see 51% of its cropland lost.
Egypt understandably views this dam as a security threat; however, Ethiopia believes the downstream country takes an unfairly large slice of the river's water. With talks stalled, and politicians threatening military options, one has to wonder whether the increasing droughts predicted due to ongoing global warming will serve to make both countries even more desperate to fight for the river's flow. Indeed, this could very well be one of the 21st century's first wars over water.