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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
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    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,”

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