William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


Disputes over rivers and water resources extend back to early civilizations. Yet, the current dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia may rank among the most vexing water disputes in modern history. The Grand Ethiopian Dam filling is close to completion, and, if no cooperative or legal solution is reached, many adverse consequences will start appearing gradually on the Egyptian share of the Nile River, which may ultimately pose a threat to the African peace. Currently, the international community is standing in vain after multiple unsuccessful attempts at negotiation and mediation. While legal and political scholars have discussed mechanisms and substantive standards applicable to water disputes, no scholarship currently exists regarding the application of those mechanisms and standards specifical to the Nile River dispute. Accordingly, this Article scrutinizes the current legal, political, and quasi-legal mechanisms and substantive standards governing water disputes to determine the most suitable mechanism of dispute resolution to adopt in the Nile River dispute. Further, it assesses the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions in interstate water disputes to identify the most adequate substantive standard that may likely resolve the Nile River dispute.