Environment: Drought Stalks the Mighty Nile

As water levels recede, Egypt struggles to cope with less

Maher Abaza, Egypt's Minister of Energy, sits in semidarkness in his cavernous Cairo office, the only light a small desk lamp and neon bulbs overhead. "This is a very hard year for our country's power system," he explains. "I have told the Egyptian people clearly -- we do not have enough." At the Aswan High Dam, Supervisor Hamdi el Shaffei observes, "Water is our fuel. Not a drop is wasted." Under his feet, huge turbines hum as thousands of gallons of precious Nile River water gush past each second, heading north on the last leg of a 4,150-mile journey through Africa.

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