The Nile Water Politics Must Be Solved Once and For All

Published on 4th March 2014

Egypt's Irrigation Minister’s visit to Italy to convince European countries to halt their support for the Great Renaissance Dam building process yielded an intermediary in Italy.  Egypt is concerned over its water security in the long run. Italy historically participated in some of the treaties contested by Ethiopia. According to colonial treaties, Egypt is supposed to take 55.5 billion cubic metres; Sudan 18.5 billion cubic metres, while the upstream countries should depend on rain.

Upstream countries view the treaties as obsolete and insensitive to their developmental needs such as electricity generation and irrigation. They argue that electricity generation for example, temporarily reduces water from a river, but channels it back. This should not be a problem to Egypt. Moreover, irrigation in the Tropics is more for stabilizing agriculture rather than being the primary source of water.

Storing water in the dams in Egypt is more counterproductive as the country experiences a high degree of evaporation. The Aswan dam, for example, loses 10 billion cubic metres per annum in evaporation. Stakeholders in this matter should sit down and tackle the issue soberly. The Nile Water Politics can be solved once and for all if all member states in the Nile Basin evolved a regional security agenda as opposed to simply focus on individual nation-states.

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