Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Kristin Fabbe

Rights Information

© 2012 Alexandra Bergonia


The countries of the Nile Basin are on a collision course that could result in disastrous military action to determine control of the region’s main water source. In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Egyptian government has lost much of the regional clout that allowed it to maintain it’s ‘lion’s share’ of the Nile as outlined by the 1959 agreement. Population and economic growth in upstream countries, specifically Ethiopia, have resulted in intensified calls for a more equitable water-sharing agreement. Just weeks after Mubarak stepped down, Ethiopia unveiled plans to build the Grand Renaissance Dam. The GRD will significantly reduce the water that reaches Egypt’s borders but will significantly increase Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power and irrigation potential. Egypt’s population and agriculture sector rely heavily on the maintenance of this status quo; the country also faces the mounting effects of climate change, rising food prices and immense population growth. In order to avoid a severe water crisis, Egypt must be proactive and look to improve efficiency within its own borders. This paper will examine the inadequacies of Egypt’s agricultural and irrigation sectors. It will then use examples from Mexico’s successful irrigation reform and advocate a shift of control to local Water User Associations. Other domestic and basin-wide efforts to increase water-use efficiency will also be examined.