Egypt's 'Lost Dream' of Linking The Congo and Nile Rivers - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of th... - 0 views
According to a new study conducted by Gamal el-Kalyouby, a professor of petroleum and energy at the American University of Cairo, linking the Nile with the Congo River would divert Congo River water that washes into the Atlantic Ocean into the Nile River Basin. It should be noted that the Congo River water that enters the Atlantic amounts to 1,000 billion cubic meters annually. This diversion could be done by establishing a 600-kilometer [373-mile] canal to transfer water to the Nile Basin from southern Sudan to northern Sudan and then to Lake Nasser, behind the Aswan High Dam in Egypt.
the study also suggests diverting Nile water toward the west and also east toward the Sinai. This would serve to create a Sahara delta to the west and a delta at the entrance to the Sinai
Is this idea impossible to implement, as claimed by successive Egyptian governments, whether during the era of Mubarak or after the Jan. 25 revolution? Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohammed Abdel Matlab answered this question. He told Al-Monitor that linking the Congo River to the Nile is difficult to implement because it requires a canal that goes through southern Sudan, which is riddled with ponds and swamps. Thus, the project would threaten to inundate its territories. What's more, there are some legal problems relating to the prohibition of transferring river waters outside their basins, which is an international principle that Egypt cannot risk violating, not to mention the very high cost of such a project.
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We would be violating an international rule, which prohibits the transfer of the rivers' water out of their watershed. The Congo River has many tributaries in many African countries, such as Cameroon, Guinea, and the Central African Republic.
Egyptian businessman Ibrahim al-Fayoumi, considered one of the most prominent Egyptian investors in the Congo and whose company is currently executing a number of infrastructure and mining projects there, spoke to Al-Monitor concerning the government’s justifications for rejecting projects that link the Nile River with the Congo. “These justifications are nonsensical, for there is no legal impediment standing in the way of linking both rivers together,” said Fayoumi.
“We have reviewed close to 300 river-related agreements, and none of them contained legal deterrents to the project. Taking advantage of the Congo River’s water would not violate international law since the water would be moved between two watersheds that lie within the borders of the same country, and would serve to exploit water that otherwise would be wastefully pushed 300 kilometers offshore,”
Political outbidding aside, local and international experts claim that Egypt’s concerns regarding water and power shortages that may result from the construction of the Ethiopia dam are unfounded, and that the dam could in fact provide more resources for Egypt.
Ethiopia, a Nile Basin country, diverted the flow of the river last week in preparation for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a $4.2 billion project on the Blue Nile, which started in 2011.
Egypt has demanded a halt in construction but to no avail since Ethiopia is pressing ahead with the project even as it continues to hold official talks with Egypt, which fears the dam could cause water and power shortages. Ethiopia claims it has reported evidence to claim otherwise.
Of the 84 billion cubic meters (BCM) of the Nile water, which reaches the Aswan High Dam annually, 68 percent comes from the Blue Nile.
A 10-man tripartite commission, composed of four international experts, two Egyptians, two Sudanese and two Ethiopians, has claimed that although “inconclusive”, the results from its year-long analysis of the project and inspection of the site show that it will not significantly impact Egypt or Sudan.
A Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) was created in 1999 to begin cooperation among Nile riparian countries, but its participants have failed to reach an agreement to date.
Tensions have been rising since 2007 when negotiations stalled, leading to the signing of a Cooperative Framework Agreement in 2010 by five upstream states to seek more Nile River water, a move fiercely opposed by Egypt and Sudan.
It is predicted that by 2050, at the current rates of consumption, Egypt will be under extreme water stress since 95 percent of its population is living on the Nile basin, compared to 39 percent in Ethiopia.
With annual precipitation at 150 mm/year and few water resources, according to a government report released last February, Egypt’s per capita share of water is 660 cubic meters – well below the international standard of water poverty of 1,000 cubic meters – compared to Ethiopia, where the per capita share is about 1,575 cubic meters. Egypt has 24 cubic meters per capita access to renewable freshwater compared to Ethiopia, which stands at 1,543 cubic meters.
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“The Renaissance Dam is not designed to hold back huge amounts of water, but rather to let the water pass for the generation of hydro-electricity.”
Mohammed El-Mongy, of the Water Institute of the Nile, claims that having legal and financial ownership rights in the dam could allow Egypt to reduce loss of water by 6 percent through ensuring water is released right before the peak agricultural season.
During his assessment of the Renaissance Dam, Islam Awad, a geotechnical consultant engineer at Dar El-Handasah, discovered that water losses from evaporation could be minimised by 5 percent, equivalent to 0.58 BCM, by storing water in Ethiopia for a period of time before it reaches Egypt.
Egypt’s arid climate causes 10 BCM, about 12 percent of its stored water, to evaporate per year.
Evaporation rates reach as high as 2,970 mm/year in Egypt, about half of what is lost in Ethiopia at a rate of 1,520 mm/year.
Another possible benefit of the Renaissance Dam is its reduction of siltation, a process where soil erosion or sediment spill creates large particles that pollute water.
By acting as a barrier, the dam could reduce approximately 160 million tones of silt which flows in the Blue Nile every year, and therefore increases the Aswan Dam’s efficiency in power generation.
The Renaissance Dam could also have economic benefits if Egypt pursues economic integration with Nile Basin countries and become an investment partner in the project.
Egypt’s close proximity to Ethiopia, feasibility of transportation and demand for power, would create a favourable climate for cooperation with Ethiopia.
Only 40 percent of the project is locally funded, which means that Egypt could invest in the remaining 60 percent guaranteeing some ownership rights.
“Egypt can play a proactive role to economically integrate the 400 million inhabitants that live in the Nile Basin countries,” says Ana Cascao, Programme Manager at Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).
Historically, Egypt is seen by many of its African neighbors as being hegemonic and quasi-colonial in its water usage.
When the $10 billion Red-Dead Canal plan got the axe earlier in August, we discussed plan B for restoring some sense of water security to northern Jordan: a smaller desalination plant in Wadi Araba to trade water with Israel and Palestine.
Sure enough, just a couple of weeks later, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour announced that as a matter of strategic national interest, the Kingdom will trade water with Israel.
Jordan will sell water produced by a new Red Sea desalination project to their neighbor to the West, in return for which Israel will transfer 50 million cubic meters of water taken from the Tiberian reservoir to the northern section of the Kingdom, which has been especially hard pressed to provide a decent supply of water since hundreds of thousands of refugees have spilled across its borders.
Some brine will still be pumped into the Dead Sea, which is problematic since the Red Sea’s sulphate mixed with the Dead Sea’s calcium is expected to leave a film of white gypsum on the water
Egypt's New Rulers Face Crisis With Ethiopia Over Nile - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the M... - 0 views
the Nile has returned to the government’s agenda as an external challenge threatening national security. A delegation of senior Egyptian diplomats, including Africa expert Ambassador Mona Omar, traveled to a number of African states, starting with Ethiopia, to explain Egypt’s position and improve its image following the recent coup and overthrow of deposed president Mohammed Morsi. Coordination meetings were also held between the ministers of foreign affairs and irrigation to make progress on the political and technical levels toward a solution to the problem.
A diplomatic source told Al-Monitor that in regional negotiations with the upstream countries, the Egyptian attempts to reach a solution over the Entebbe agreement or to convince the countries involved to renegotiate the points of contention were an exercise in futility. The source affirmed that Egypt still has some negotiating cards to play.
Despite Egyptian endeavors to re-launch negotiations over the Entebbe agreement, the Ethiopian and Ugandan parliaments have ratified it and refuse to return to the negotiation phase. Instead, they called on Egypt and Sudan to join the agreement.
The Nile issue was one of the first files to be addressed by Mohamed ElBaradei, interim deputy president for international affairs. ElBaradei held an “unannounced” meeting to discuss the crisis of the Nile waters, the mechanisms to be adopted and the steps that would be taken in regard to this issue.
A diplomatic source who took part in the meeting told Al-Monitor, “The necessity of completing the data of the Renaissance Dam and conducting accurate studies was agreed upon. The meeting came up with three conclusions: first, the impossibility of resorting to international arbitration; second, the non-compliance ... of the past regimes, represented by arrogance and condescending attitudes toward the upstream countries in addition to acknowledging the fact that some policies were wrong; [and] third, the acceptance of the option of cooperating on the basis of building new power-generating dams according to international high-tech standards and making sure that there will be no damage. Additionally, Egypt will call on halting the construction of the dam for the time being until a mutual solution is reached.”
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Egypt gets an annual quota estimated at 55.5 billion cubic meters of water from the Nile in accordance with the 1959 agreement signed with Sudan, whereby Sudan gets 18.5 billion cubic meters. This distribution is rejected by the rest of the Nile's headwater states, which believe that Egypt gets the lion's share of the water, despite the allegations of Egyptian officials and experts who complain that this share is insufficient for Egypt's internal needs, as the country depends on the Nile waters for 90% of its water needs.
Ethiopian dam won't affect Nile water share: Egypt presidency - Politics - Egypt - Ahra... - 0 views
Egypt will need an additional 21 billion cubic metres of water per year by 2050, on top of its current quota of 55 billion metres, to meet the water needs of a projected population of 150 million people, according to Egypt's National Planning Institute.