Current tensions between Egypt and Sudan, its neighbor to the south, are merely a continuation of a two thousand year-old struggle over who will control the regions scarce water resources. As more of the nations in the Nile valley develop their economies, the need for water in the region will increase. And while the demand for resources increases, the supply is likely to remain unchanged, drastically increasing the chances for armed conflict over the waters of the Nile river.

In addition, development projects that are aimed at increasing the flow of the Nile remain endangered by tension and instability in the region, as well as by environmental and financial concerns.

In ancient Egypt, the Nile, and its delta, were worshiped as a god. The god Hapi, who came in the shape of a frog, represented the Nile delta. Several times throughout history, Egyptians have tried to unify the Nile valley under their rule by conquering the Sudan.

The lands to the south of them that bordered the river were in constant danger. The Sudan was invaded during the reign of Queen Sheba, during the Roman rule of Nero, and countless other times.

This is because the Egyptians have always feared that one day the Nile’s waters would no longer reach their country. People believed, that since the flow of the Nile was so unpredictable, something had to have been affecting it. A legend says that during one particularly bad famine in Egypt, the Egyptian Sultan sent his ambassadors to the king of Ethiopia in order to plead with him not the obstruct the waters.

A Scottish traveler in the 18th century recounted a story that the King of Ethiopia had sent a letter to the pasha in 1704 threatening to cut off the water. Given this fear it is quite natural that the Nile countries desire to secure their water supplies.(Collins, 3-4)