Farmers use tourists as leverage to get water.
Two weeks ago, I posted about water conflicts and how water can be used as a weapon. Unfortunately, the fight for water hasn’t stopped.
This week, farmers near Abu Simbel, Egypt, finally released more than 200 tourists that they had taken hostage to protest a water shortage, the Egypt Independent reported. The farmers claimed that they had been denied water to irrigate their crops, and they expect dry conditions to damage the 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) that they have planted.
Life & Death
Photo courtesy of Flamsmark
Irrigation creates a distinct line between fertile lands and desert in Egypt.
Egypt relies extensively on irrigation from the Nile River to sustain its farmland, but its historical rights to Nile water are being increasingly challenged by its upstream neighbors. For example, Ethiopia is moving forward with its contested Grand Renaissance Dam, which would be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, CNN reported — 85 percent of the water flowing to Egypt from the Nile originates in Ethiopia.
This link from CNN, which details another irrigation-related dispute that killed 116 people in Pakistan in 2010, was passed along from one of our readers who responded to my last blog on water violence.
Circle of Blue would like to continue to track water conflicts, so if you read or hear about a water dispute, send me an e-mail at or comment below.

–Codi Yeager