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Ed Webb

New Ethiopian dam flares tensions over water access | Mada Masr - 0 views

  • Ethiopian media said that the country's government finished plans to establish a second main dam on the Nile, irrespective of the rising tensions with Egyptian authorities.

    “Members of the left-wing of Ethiopia's ruling party are accusing the US of disturbing the balance in the region by supplying Egypt with F16 jets, as well as millions of dollars in military aid, which gave Egypt the courage to pressure the rest of the Nile Basin countries,” the Somalian Sun reported according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

    “There’s no need to acquire Egypt’s approval for establishing any dams in Ethiopia since Egypt previously established the High Dam without Ethiopia’s approval,” the newspaper added.

  • The 6,000-megawatt Renaissance Dam, which heads a 63-billion cubic meter reservoir, is expected to generate three times the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam and hold twice the amount of water held in Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake.
Ed Webb

Environment Magazine - September/October 2013 - 0 views

  • the Chinese drive for water security may spark a series of actions that others may interpret as threats even while inside China they may be technical responses to very real risks
    • Ed Webb
      Akin to the classic security dilemma: efforts to ameliorate environmental problems may be misconstrued as hostile or their unintended consequences read as intentional.
  • The regional security difficulty lies not only in Tibetan politics, but in the fact that the Yarlung-Tsangpo becomes the Brahmaputra once it crosses into India in Arunachal Pradesh, a territory disputed by India and China and heavily militarized. Diversions affecting the Brahmaputra would imperil India's own water security, including hydropower and irrigation projects, and would have further impacts downstream in Bangladesh. Although China may see its water projects as increasing its own security, India and Bangladesh view the Chinese actions as a direct threat to their national security. Specifically, China's actions have the potential to increase the risk of water-related population stresses, cross-border tension, and migration and agricultural failures for perhaps a billion people in India and Bangladesh, and its actions may be interpreted as a security threat by India
  • Many systems rely on predictable delivery of water, and too much or too little at the wrong time can spell catastrophe for agriculture, power, transport, or other critical systems linked around the globe
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  • The connections between extreme heat/drought in Russia in the summer of 2010 and the subsequent Arab Spring revolts in late 2010 are an example of where changes in one system (in this case, water/moisture for food production) may contribute to existing instability in a far different geographical region.
  • The topic of environmental security also raises questions about what or who is driving policy priorities and how science is (mis)communicated to policymakers.
  • Complex risk assessments must take into account the multidimensional and interdisciplinary nature of the strategic environment. Providing adequate resources for these complex assessments requires knowledge not only of climate and weather systems, but of particular geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic factors that make environmental hazards unique to each region and community
Ed Webb

Rouhani pushes ahead with controversial Khuzestan water project - Al-Monitor: the Pulse... - 0 views

  • During the past few months, the people of Khuzestan had strongly objected to the implementation of the project known as Behesht Abad, which aims to transfer water from the Karun River to the central provinces of the country.

    The Behesht Abad project involves the transfer of more than 1 billion cubic meters [1.3 billion cubic yards] of water from the tributaries of the Karun River to the central provinces of Iran such as Yazd, Isfahan and Kerman. The project, which would stop the flow of Karun into the Persian Gulf, has been faced with strong opposition from the people and environmental activists of Khuzestan province.  

  • If we survey the local websites, we can clearly see that for the people of this region issues such as employment, environmental pollution and hydraulic basins are more important than political issues
  • the transfer of water, even when it is intended for providing drinking water, in fact is used to expand the farming industry in the central provinces. In these provinces, the drinking water is being used for farming and when there is a shortage in drinking water, the provinces once again ask for drinking water. With this method, the central provinces expand their own farming lands
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  • The province of Khuzestan, situated in southwest Iran, has been faced with many environmental problems during the past few years. Its capital city of Ahvaz has been identified by the World Health Organization as the second-most polluted city in the world. It is also reported that since 2001 there has been a substantial increase in the density of the floating particles in Khuzestan’s air. This fact has resulted in the emergence of acid rains
  • this water is needed for preserving the water quality in the Shadegan Wetland, an international wetland and one of the largest wetland ecosystems of the world. The Karun River, in its course through Khuzestan, provides water for several large and small wetlands that are very important in maintaining the local ecosystem
  • There are more than 3.3 million hectare [12,741 square miles, an area roughly the size of Massachusetts and Rhode Island combined] of cultivable land available in Khuzestan, but considering the available water sources, only 1.5 million hectare [5,791 square miles] of it have the potential of being cultivated. The restricting element in Khuzestan, even more than the budget, is the water.
  • With the implementation of the projects Kuhrang I, Kuhrang II and Kuhrang III, more than 930 million cubic meters [1.2 billion cubic yards] of water has been transferred from the tributaries of the Karun River to the central areas of the country. So far, the residents of Khuzestan, almost half of them ethnic Arabs, have had four peaceful gathering on the banks of the Karun River asking for an end to the Behesht Abad project. At the same time, some of the MPs in parliament have accused the central government of having a discriminatory behavior toward the residents of Khuzestan
  • seven members of Rouhani’s cabinet are from the province of Isfahan, which is to be a beneficiary of the water transferred from Karun’s tributaries
    Rare to get news of local environmental politics in Iran.
Ed Webb

First Egypt-Ethiopia Nile talks end on sour note - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle ... - 0 views

  • Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese ministers of water resources met in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Sunday, Nov. 4, to begin the first round of negotiating sessions set to deal with the Renaissance Dam, as well as to consult with each other on the mechanisms needed to complete it, and how to implement the recommendations of an international committee of technical experts. The latter concluded its activities on May 27 after studying the effects of the dam on the water security of Egypt and Sudan.
  • “We do not want to characterize the negotiations as having failed. We will give ourselves another chance to talk and better clarify everybody’s points of view,”
  • Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alamayo Tegno, in a statement given to Al-Monitor after the meetings, said: “The decision to build the Renaissance Dam is resolute, both by the government and the Ethiopian people. We are in complete agreement with Sudan about all the details pertaining to the completion of the dam. Egypt will certainly come to understand this and espouse our position.”
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  • An Egyptian diplomatic source told Al-Monitor that Cairo’s options right now revolve around maintaining international pressure and preventing foreign funding of the dam project to slow construction until an agreement can be reached with the Ethiopians. Egypt will also make public the official report prepared by the international committee of technical experts, which shows that the dam will have a negative impact if it is built according to the current planned dimensions.
  • As the tug of war between the Egyptian and Ethiopian delegations intensified during the first negotiating session, Sudan fully and unreservedly adopted the Ethiopian position
Ed Webb

International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed C... - 0 views

  • "On this International Day, we stress the critical importance of protecting the environment in times of armed conflict and restoring the good governance of natural resources during post-conflict reconstruction. We also recognize the important role that natural resources play in supporting the livelihoods and resilience of all members of society, especially women, and the implications of sustainable natural resource management for conflict prevention and peace."

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

  • the environment has often remained the unpublicized victim of war.Water wells have been polluted, crops torched, forests cut down, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage
  • over the last 60 years, at least 40 percent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources, whether high-value resources such as timber, diamonds, gold and oil, or scarce resources such as fertile land and water. Conflicts involving natural resources have also been found to be twice as likely to relapse
Ed Webb

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,”

Ed Webb

Ethiopia dam fears exaggerated, say experts : EgyptMonocle - 0 views

  • 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.
Ed Webb

Israel and Jordan Strike Brilliant Water Trade Deal | Green Prophet - 0 views

  • 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
Ed Webb

Advice from green youths to Egypt's new environment minister | Mada Masr - 0 views

    Recommendations from green youths to Egypt's new environment minister
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