The recent war declaration of the Ethiopian dictator Melese Zenawie has menaced the Egypt’s water needs that will surpass its resources by 2017 if the current population 76 million continues to grow with the same rate. In the same year the country would need 86.2 billion cubic meters of water while resources would be only 71.4 billion cubic meters. The Nile is expected to supply only 80.5 percent of this Egyptian resource. This is only if Ethiopia which supplies 87% of the water did not use or divert the water or build any dam at the same time as menaced by the Ethiopian dictator. But in 2006 Egypt’s water resources stood at 64 billion cubic meters, of which the River Nile provided 55.5 billion cubic meters, or 86.7 %. As we know Egypt is heavily dependent on river water as it has little rainfall. Agriculture accounted for 83.3 percent of water consumption in Egypt today.
Today’s Egypt’s water supply is equivalent to an allocation of 860 cubic meters per capita per year, well below the water poverty line of 1,000 cubic meters per capita a year.
The Egyptian water allocation would also fall to 582 cubic meters per capita per year by 2017 if action was not taken to reverse the downward trend which is highly menaced by construct6ion dams and irrigation in the upper plateau of Ethiopia by the genocidal dictator of the country Melese Zenawie and the rest other riparian states as influenced by him in their recent singed pact.
The today highly contested by Nile basin countries 1929 agreement between Egypt and Britain, acting on behalf of its then east African colonies, gave Cairo the right to veto projects higher up the Nile that would affect its water share.
The secondly rejected 1959 accord between Egypt and Sudan, supplementing the previous agreement, gave Egypt the right to 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water a year.
The agreements have created resentment among other Nile states and calls for changes to the pact, resisted by Egypt.
The colonial pact Egypt’s “permanent” quota of Nile water is estimated at 55.5 billion square meters. The fast growing Egyptian and Eastern African population growth in the coming two decades will aggravate the existing crisis. In the coming two decades the population of Egypt is expected to reach 100 million while and that of Ethiopia over 120 million. Under current climatic conditions and the continuous damming in Ethiopia the increasing the water quota for Egypt is impossible.
Egypt rejects the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) signed in Entebbe, Uganda in May last year. Four countries (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda) signed the CFA while Kenya joined signed up later as a declaration of war to her water supply.
Egypt and Sudan have refused to join. Other countries which did not sign are Burundi and Democratic Congo. Recently Burundi seems favoring Egypt while Ethiopia declares the coming water war.
The CFA does not specify exact water quotas for Nile Basin countries; it voids the agreements of 1929 and 1959 and allows each Nile Basin country to meet its needs for river water without harming other states. There is no way each country to meet their individual needs without harming Egypt which is at the end of the line for water supply.
The agreement also allows the commission, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and comprised of representatives from all nine Nile Basin countries, to approve or reject proposals for water projects on the Nile. But Ethiopia continues to build dams without the approval of any of the member states voiding the existence of the pact.
Egypt helplessly trying to assure the agreements dating back to the 1890s and uphold single handedly. These are agreements which are in the past backed by international law and precedent, most notably the agreements of 1929 and 1959, but are rejected by the new agreement which is leading to the coming water war between Egypt and the rest of the riparian states.
The water security is now highly menaced. The signing the CFA by the riparian countries have created a complicated political situation, which is leading to a water crisis leading to UN expected war to explode any time.
Egypt start blaming a foreign interference in the issue of the Nile Basin in her recent declaration, in the following wise:-
“We do not and will not allow any outside party to manipulate the current situation and spoil relations; we are very conscious …that an international river cannot be managed by one country (Ethiopia) alone… Accordingly, we will protect our quota and our water security…
The general coordinator for Nile Basin affairs in Egypt’s foreign ministry identifies cooperation with other Nile Basin countries as the way to any resolution on how to share the river’s water
Many of the Nile Basin states which disagree with Egypt, especially Ethiopia, threaten the looming prospect of projects funded by the World Bank such as the construction of dams which could affect Egypt’s quota of Nile water.
“The World Bank has rules about pre-notification,” he explained. “Accordingly, all the countries must approve any project related to the river, and all the banks in the world, as well as economic and investment funds practice the same rules.
“Egypt is closely following developments on this issue everywhere in the world, and we have no objection to investments. In fact, we encourage them, participate and talk to donors candidly. We are adamant that relations with these countries continue on the right path.”
© 2011 – 2013, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.