By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
The Nile, Egypt’s lifeline in the desert, comes under threat
November 11, 2012
Poor African capitals are increasingly challenging Cairo for the river’s water, without which Egypt’s economy would wither and die.
|Egyptians sit near the Nile River at sunset in Cairo. Neighboring African countries at the river’s source, notably Ethiopia, no longer feel bound by colonial-era agreements and are moving to siphon away larger shares of water for electricity, irrigation and business to meet demands of burgeoning populations. (John Moore / Getty Images / February 5, 2011)|
CAIRO — Overwhelmed by cascading economic and political problems since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, this nation teeters from within even as it biggest threat may lie hundreds of miles away in the African highlands. Buried in the headlines is the future of the Nile River — and thus the fate ofEgypt itself.
Mubarak long neglected the security danger posed by other nations’ claims to the timeless pulse that provides 95% of this desert country’s water, without which its delta farmlands would wither and its economy die. As poor African capitals increasingly challenge Cairo, however, the struggle has become one of the most pressing foreign policy tests for Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.
African countries at the river’s source, notably Ethiopia, no longer feel bound by colonial-era agreements on water rights and are moving to siphon away larger shares of water for electricity, irrigation and business to meet demands of burgeoning populations.
It is a skirmish involving diplomats, engineers and veiled threats of war over geography’s blessings and slights and how nations in a new century will divvy up a river on whose banks civilizations have risen and tumbled.
“All of Egyptian life is based on the Nile. Without it there is nothing,” said Moujahed Achouri, the representative for theUnited Nations‘ Food and Agricultural Organization in Egypt.
Morsi’s acknowledgment of the water crisis and his desire to reach a compromise to protect his country’s strategic and historical claim is evident: The Islamist leader has visited key Nile countries twice since his inauguration in June, and his prime minister, Hesham Kandil, is a former water and irrigation minister with connections to officials in African governments. An Egyptian delegation recently toured the region, listening to how Cairo might help build hospitals and schools in villages and jungles.
An advisor to the president quoted in Al Ahram Weekly said this of Morsi: “The man was shocked when he received a review about the state of ties we have with Nile basin countries. The previous regime should be tried for overlooking such a strategic interest.”
For decades, Egypt had concentrated on problems closer to home, including keeping the Arab-Israeli peace and tending to wars from Lebanon to Iraq. Mubarak, who survived a 1995 assassination attempt by Islamic extremists in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, had paid little attention to East Africa. But his regime was adamant — at one point hinting at military action — in preserving the existing Nile treaties.
That echoed a warning from his predecessor, President Anwar Sadat, in 1979: “The only matter that could take Egypt to war again is water.”
In a 1929 treaty and through other pacts, Egypt and its southern neighbor, Sudan, were granted the bulk of the Nile’s flow. The logic — filtered through decades of politics and power struggles — was that Egypt could not survive without the river. Nile basin countries, including Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, have seasonal rains and other water sources.
But economic pressure and increasing demand for energy and development have turned African countries’ attention to the Nile. Since 2010, Ethiopia, which now gets only 3% of its water from the Nile, and five other upstream countries have indicated they would divert more water and no longer honor Egypt’s veto power over building projects on the river.
The biggest challenge to Cairo is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Experts estimate that the hydropower project, which is under construction and is expected to cost at least $4.8 billion, could reduce the river’s flow to Egypt by as much as 25% during the three years it would take to fill the reservoir behind the dam. The project faces a number of potential setbacks and lost its biggest proponent when Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in August.
Ethiopia has sought to reassure Cairo that Egypt’s annual share of 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water — about two-thirds of the river’s flow — will not be disrupted and that the new dam may provide low-cost electricity to its neighbors. But the Egyptians are suspicious.
“Egypt has entered a stage where its resources are depleting and population is rapidly increasing,” said Hani Raslan, an expert on the Nile basin for Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. “If the dam is complete … this will mean Ethiopia will turn into an enemy for Egypt because it will essentially threaten the country’s safety, development and livelihood of its people.”
He added, “Egypt would legally have the right to defend itself by going to war.”
The struggle over the river highlights decades of strained relations. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was quoted as saying before Morsi’s visit in October: “Despite the Nile River supporting livelihoods of millions of Egyptians from the ancient times to date, none of the country’s presidents has ever visited Uganda to see the source of this lifeline.”
Egypt and the other Nile nations are seeking to calm the rhetoric.
Officials say a resolution may include Cairo entering into long-term economic and energy resource agreements with neighboring capitals. The Egyptian delegation that recently toured the region included doctors and representatives of food banks, hospitals and charities.
Egypt, however, faces deep economic problems and is trying to attract foreign investment, which dropped sharply during last year’s uprising and ensuing political unrest.
“Morsi is trying to send signals to the African world that Egypt is opening up now, that he wants to improve relations and increase cooperation,” Raslan said. Morsi’s visits to Africa “are all just gestures.”
“No real agreements have been reached yet,” he said. “More needs to be done. Egypt wants and needs to reach its influence in the region.”
The essence of the Nile conflict is poor nations — Egypt and Ethiopia — needing the river for similar reasons. Ethiopia, which has experienced strong economic growth in recent years, wants to boost electricity output while spurring agriculture and development. Those needs also resonate to the north, but Egypt, which has no other water source, faces more dire prospects.
The crisis is certain to force Egypt, where regulations are tangled in bureaucracy and often ignored, to improve water conservation among the nearly 30% of its population that depends on farming for its livelihood. Much of the Nile Delta is made up of small family farms that for centuries have grown wheat, corn and rice with little environmental concern. This attitude and a growing population, which may jump from 82 million to 150 million by 2050, have put further strains on the river.
“Water policies in Egypt have to be long-range,” said Achouri, the U.N. official. “If you want farmers to stop using too much water for irrigation, alternatives and other incentives should be made available to them. Farmers right now cannot make a living without the Nile.”
A possible solution is rotating away from water-intensive crops, such as rice, and shifting to increased wheat production. Egypt, where the word “bread” also means “life,” is the world’s No. 1 importer of wheat. Agricultural experts say reducing rice production while increasing wheat yields would conserve water and meet the country’s food needs.
Such a scenario may be forced upon farmers if the Nile’s flow is curtailed and irrigation canals become parched. Egypt’s water and irrigation minister, Mohamed Bahaa El Din Saad, said recently that overpopulation, farming and other water uses have left the country with a “water deficit” of billions of gallons.
“More than 90% of the water for Egypt’s 90 million people is coming in from the Nile,” Achouri said. “The only way out is for more efficient use.”
The direct effect the Chinese tree Gorge Dams is drought, land sliding, and drying of lakes. This will be the best warning for the Ethiopian Dam rug Melse Zenawie from stopping to dam the Nile and the Omo rivers with consequences of drying Lake Tana and Turkana. Nile its source is the Lake Tana the only life giving lake to Egypt, while Omo is the life line for Lake Turkana in Kenya.
Poyang Lake just months ago but now is a dry ocean of green grass because of China’s worst drought in decades the main culprit is the three Gorge dams, soon the same will be for Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Turkana in Kenya due the Death Dams of the Nile and Omo rivers constructed with the help the China.
As that of Poyang shrinks to a tenth its usual size, crops wither and millions of people go thirsty, critics point to the gargantuan Three Gorges Dam as one cause, making it a symbol of the risks of the country’s dream of Mega dams not only in China but also in the drought stricken Horn of Africa.
Many villagers environmental scientists suspect the dam not only withholds water from the Yangtze River downstream, but could also be altering weather patterns, contributing to the lowest rainfall some areas have seen in a half-century or more. The same type of drought due to the Gibe I,II,III dams has rekindle a tribal war in Lake Turkana region of Ethiopia and Kenya.
The Chinese government in the opposite to its Ethiopian counterpart , though in the beginning denies that Three Gorges can cause droughts but has acknowledged some of its environmental problems in a debate that highlights China’s reliance on such showcase projects to sustain its economic boom.
The Three Gorges Dam, like the Ethiopian coming Nile Millennium & gibe III Dams, is the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant is a way to control flooding along the Yangtze and generate massive power for the country’s ravenous industries.
The government already has used up 80 percent of the reserves in the 410-mile-long (660-kilometer-long) reservoir by releasing extra water to relieve drought conditions downstream. When it comes to the future Ethiopian Nile & Omo Dam planed in the image of the Three Gorges Dam will dry up the two rivers irreversibly.
The Yangtze’s levels have fallen enough to threaten shipping both upstream and downstream as far as Shanghai, where high salt tides threaten drinking water supplies for its 23 million residents. Once the Ethiopian Millennium Dam is over the Sudanese and Egyptian must prepare to use another means of transport since the Nile will cease to Exist if any Egypt is left without the Nile.
The dam rather than producing great energy as dreamed by the Chinese engineers the waning hydroelectric capacity are expected to deepen in the hottest days of summer. If it continues at the present rhythm many farmers have to abandon their dried ponds and fields, prices for food are surging, defying Beijing’s efforts to bring down already stubbornly high inflation. Today China Luks water to sustain its 1.3 billion people. The Three gorge dams seems accelerating the end of China’s high growth since the government has exhausted its natural environmental reserve to fall back .
The Chinese State Council admitted that the $23 billion Three Gorges project has caused a slew of environmental, geologic and economic problems. Urgent action is needed to reduce risks of natural disasters such as landslides and alleviate poverty among the 1.4 million people forced to relocate, while their new won satellite state of Ethiopia led by Melse Zenawie refused to recognize the resent drought in Turkana region is caused by the Gibe dams of Omo river.
More and more Chinese farmers and fisherman’s in the lake Poyang and around the country that the dam causes drought. China’s leaders like their Ethiopian counterpart are very sensitive when one criticizes their Megalomaniac Death Dams. People’s Daily like most of the Ethiopians state run Journals recently declared that – “No evidence supports the theory that the Three Gorges causes droughts.”
Dam can altering the humidity of an area and affect local rainfall . According to Kenneth Pomeranz, the University of California’s specialist on the Chinese Water’s conclusion on the Apocalyptic three Gorge Dams as a “big Rube Goldberg contraption.”
“All the pieces have to work or you’ve got big problems. Obviously one of those pieces is that you have to have guessed right about the water supply in the Yangtze basin. If it doesn’t have as much water as was thought, you have to give it up.
Like 6650 km long Nile, to Sudan and Egypt, Yangtze the 6,300 km waterway provides about a fifth of China’s economic activity and two-thirds of its inland shipping. Since Three Apocalyptic Three Gorge Dams completion, the region around Poyang Lake has dried out. With the completion of the Ethiopian Millennium Death Dams not only Ethiopia but Egypt and Sudan will revive the Biblical Famine due to the coming unfrequented droughts.
According to Jacques Leslie building dams around the Equator will disequilibrate the earth’s magnetic tilt in his recent conferences. The Ethiopian Dictator must be stopped before he does un reparable damage to the planets magnetic equilibrium.
Our efforts to stop the Ethiopian Dictatorial Death Dams have started giving fruits internationally while in Ethiopia it is in the very embryonic state.
Recently the Chileans struggle to stop the damming the Andes- Patagonia and that of the Turkish anti dam revolt have given a hope to the people of the horn of Africa. In Kenya the manifestation against the dams is permitted officially while in Ethiopia it a crime against the regime of Melese Zenawie, nobody even consider criticizing rather than blindly supporting his megalomaniac Dams of destructions. China after destroying the region of the three dams has come to destroy the only sources of live water in Easter Africa by proposing and financing these death dams to Ethiopian dictator. Resistance is coming from around the world to resisting these destructive dams.
Here is the a recent article on CBS world watch on the Negative effect of the damming in Ethiopia written by Celia Hatton of CBS which reads as follows:-
“It’s a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.
The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia’s powerful Omo River, using
The Ethiopian dictator covered under the umbrella of the Social Tsunami that engulfed the Arabic world especially Egypt lunched in human Dam constructions which will completely dry up the Nile river. According to the Ethiopian dictator Melese Zenawie the most gigantic dam will be built on the Nile which will cease the Nile from flowing to Egypt permanently. This will create artificial lake two times more than the actual size of Lake Tana which over 200KM wide. This is a dictatorial night mare of the new horn of Africa’s Water Emperor. Such gigantic dam will provoke stop definitively the annual flood of the Nile which the Egyptian farmers ritually wait every year for their farm since for the last 13’000 years. Such an inhuman dam not only destroy the environment definitively but also will risk the population of Khartoum and Cairo due in an expected earth quake on the volcanic highland plateau of the Horn of Africa. The region is stated on the two active moving plates on the moves permanently to create the news ocean of the world.
Melese Zenawi Death Millennium Dam will collapse and risk down stream riparians on the coming minimum movement of the Eastern Africa Plates:
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Yesterday the Afar region was taken by an Earth Quake:-
On March 31 st Magnitude 4.6 – ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION
|Depth||3.2 km (2.0 miles) (poorly constrained)|
|Region||ERITREA – ETHIOPIA REGION|
|Location Uncertainty||horizontal +/- 11.9 km (7.4 miles); depth +/- 46.5 km (28.9 miles)|
|Parameters||NST= 31, Nph= 31, Dmin=314 km, Rmss=0.93 sec, Gp=122°,|
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=5
Melese Zenawie fearing the coming social Tsunami that took Hosni Mubarak tries to deter the attention of the Ethiopians with a new conflict with Egypt. His recent declaration to take over Eritrea did not change the position of the Ethiopian against his regime. The recent intervention in Somalia to fight Al Qaida like his friend in Libya Gaddafi did not have any world attention to him too. The dictator not only in the Nile he is caught in the whirlwind of dam constructions even in the most fragile rift valley of the Omo River. It is a high time to stop such mad man from committing in human catastrophe in the region which is comparable or worth than the resent Japanese Tsunami and earth Quake, by inundating Khartoum and Cairo. In the first phase the dame will cease the flow of the Nile for more than three or four years the time to fill the gigantic dam. This will suck all the water from Lake Tana. In the 2nd phase any movement in the Eastern Africa plates will create will bust the dame risking the lives of millions in downstream cities like Khartoum, Cairo… by artificial flood wiping out everything down river.
The world body must intervene to stop the water dictator from creating artificial catastrophe by the Ethiopian mad man Melese Zenawie who lost his brain in the most fragile part of the world. His main objective is to sell maximum of land for the grabbers by promising them water for irrigation. Such irrigation will stop the flow of the river definitively.
4 min – 1 day ago – Uploaded by lovenium
Ethiopia to construct the Great Millennium Nile Dam with an estimated cost of 80 billion Birr. Ethiopian Government would fully …
1 Jan 2007
MOT 1935: Animated MAP OF ETHIOPIA: Nile River highlighted. Proposed dam just SE of Lake Tana.
4 min – 16 Jan 2011 – Uploaded by EthioArbenya
Meles Zenawi warns Egypt off Nile war ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) — Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia over the River Nile …
7 min – 14 Mar 2010 – Uploaded by Axumite Empire
8 min – 28 May 2010 – Uploaded by baymillermom
Israel news clip that says Nile river runs from Egypt ,Sudan down toEthiopia. Ethiopia has more of Nile in its country but …
NILE DEBATE EMPHASIZES CONSERVATION, WATER SHARING (East African Form)
MARCH 30, 2011
“President Anwar Sadat once famously threatened Ethiopia with war if Addis Ababa diverted water out of the Nile basin into other areas of Ethiopia.”
Professor Richard Tutwiler of the American University in Cairo says potential projects in Ethiopia and Sudan could help preserve Nile waters
THE NILE RIVER IS A MAIN SOURCE OF WATER FOR MANY COUNTRIES
The Nile is the world’s longest river, spanning a distance of almost 6,600 kilometers.
It is formed from the White Nile, which originates in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, and the Blue Nile, which begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The two rivers meet in Sudan and travel northwards, flowing through Egypt and seven upstream countries before finally emptying into the Mediterranean Sea.
Water use issues have long been a source of contention among the Nile Basin countries, who disagree on what is an equitable distribution of the river’s waters. For decades the answer to that question has been determined by an agreement that’s recently re-negotiated and that could alter the historic water-sharing arrangements for the Nile.
Entitled the Cooperative Framework Agreement, it was signed in late February by Burundi, which joins other countries — Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda – that are seeking what they consider a more equitable share of the river waters.
Egypt, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are still mulling over the framework’s provisions.
The accord was prepared during 11 years of negotiations among nine of the 10 countries in the basin. Eritrea did not participate directly in these negotiations but did serve as an observer. Last May, the document was put forward for signature by the participating governments.
Richard N. Tutwiler, a research professor and director of the Desert Development Center at the American University in Cairo, says with Burundi’s signing, the countries can move on to ratification.
After the sixth signature, says Tutwiler, the agreement stipulates the formation of a commission among the Nile Valley countries to review water control projects along the river basin.
World Bank (Arne Hoel)
FISHERMAN ON THE WHITE NILE (MORADA). KHARTOUM, SUDAN.
“We can expect things might start happening in terms of this commission as early as May of this year,” says Tutwiler.
Egypt and Sudan have reservations about the cooperative framework agreement. “In particular,” says Professor Tutwiler, “article 14 of the agreement is very much in dispute,” especially between downstream countries, Egypt and Sudan, and the other countries.
The issue is water security.
Article 14b does not recognize the historic right of Egypt to 55.5 billion cubic meters of the Nile’s waters, as did the 1959 treaty.
“[Egypt does not] have the power to turn on or turn off the tap of the Nile,” says Tutwiler. “So it is important to point out that Egypt has been lobbying very hard at the negotiating table and with international bodies to define water security so as to maintain the same amount of water it is receiving now and looking to the future as it moves forward.”
RULES OF RATIFICATION
Professor Tutwiler says ratification is a two stage process. Once governments sign the treaty, it must be ratified by the legislature. Out of the nine Nile basin countries, six have signed.
VOA – E. Arrott
IN EGYPT THE NILE HAS ALLOWED AGRICULTURE TO FLOURISH FOR MILLENIA.
Egypt and Sudan have announced they don’t intend to sign the present document in its present form. The DRC is still undecided, but most people think it will sign by May, which, according to Tutwiler, “is the one-year period for signature from the time the document was introduced.”
In the second stage, national legislatures must ratify the agreement. For each country, the process is slightly different, says Tutwiler.
“The idea is if six countries ratify, at least [in those countries] the agreement becomes the legislative law in operation. In other words, among the ratifying countries, they have agreed that it will be a governing document for relations among themselves in terms of cooperation regarding water use,” explains Tutwiler.
“As far as Egypt is concerned,” Tutwiler says, “it does not agree, [even though] if six signed, by default it is bound by the agreement.”
But according to al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt’s assistant foreign minister for African Affairs, Mona Omar, said the new accord is non-binding because Egypt has not signed. An official spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, Essam Khalifa, says the issue can be amicably resolved “with a little bit of understanding regarding the needs of the conflicting parties.”
NILE RIVER TREATIES
The treaty of 1929, between Egypt and then-colonial power Britain, was among the first to govern waters in international river basins. It gave Egypt permission to build whatever projects it liked along the Nile without the consent of other parties, while allowing Cairo to veto up-stream projects that could threaten its share of water.
NILE WATERS FROM ETHIOPIA HELP SUSTAIN EGYPTIAN LIVESTOCK
But Tutwiler points out that post-colonial governments do not recognize it as binding. Tutwiler says the 1959 treaty is recognized as definitive. It guaranteed Egypt 55.5 billion cubic meters of water per year, and Sudan 18.5 billion. The treaty was used as the basis for the agreement between Khartoum and Cairo to build the Aswan dam, which flooded a large part of northern Sudan.
He says none of the upstream countries, such as Uganda, Tanzania, or Ethiopia, recognize the 1929 agreement as valid.
President Anwar Sadat once famously threatened Ethiopia with war if it diverted water out of the Nile Basin into other areas of Ethiopia. Tutwiler says, “By and large Ethiopia has not done that, although they have talked about it and have various projects on the drawing board.”
PRESIDENT ANWAR SADAT
But Tutwiler says Egypt has. “Egypt has taken water out of the Nile and put it across the Suez Canal and into the Sinai, which is not geographically speaking part of the Nile Basin,” he says.
“Ethiopia was very quick to point that out. This was almost 40 years ago, and not since Sadat has Egypt ever threatened Ethiopia in the same way with military action,” she says.
The difficulty of taking military action within the Nile Basin very much work against any real military action, says Tutweiler. Much of the terrain is harsh and Egypt is limited in the reach of its air power. But he says there’s room for recourse to diplomatic and economic actions and solutions.
FOCUS ON SUDAN
Tutwiler says many observers are watching Sudan.
In January, southern Sudanese voted for independence. “The creation of a new southern Sudan state changes the whole equation,” Tutwiler says. So far, the government of southern Sudan has not actually articulated a Nile Basin policy.
Most observers assume that southern Sudan would not want to give up any water that passes through its territory.
A proposed canal could mitigate Nile waters lost in the swamps of southern Sudan
According to Tutwiler, one of the major historical issues regarding Sudan has been a project first proposed by the British in 1904 to build a very long canal in southern Sudan. The world’s largest fresh water swamp is in southern Sudan and half of the Nile water flows from equatorial Africa into that swamp and, he says, “evaporates before it can move on northward to the White Nile.”
The idea of the project is to dig a canal called the Jongeli Canal around the swamp to divert the water flowing to the swamp into the canal. Tutwiler says the project could save up to eight million cubic meters of water from evaporation that could then be used in northern Sudan and on into Egypt.
“Egypt of course would like to have the canal built. They have already started discussion with north and south Sudan on the issue,” Tutwiler says.
So far, the southern Sudanese are not saying they are for it or against it. For now they say it is not a major priority for them because they have a nation to build.
“But one suspects that they would not like to divert that water from the swamp, because in fact southern Sudanese people who live there depend on the swamp for much of their livelihood,” says Tutwiler.
“These people are cattle herders and they need the water. The swamps provide grazing land. If the swamps were to be drained,” Tutwiler says, “those people would suffer economically.”
Southern Sudanese seem not to be interested in pursuing the project and, according to Tutwiler, it might cause problems between them and the northern Sudanese, allied with Egypt.
FUTURE OF THE NILE
Tutwiler says Egyptians are always worried about the future of the Nile, the country’s main supply of fresh water.
“Egyptian concerns are real and well founded,” says Tutwiler. He adds that Cairo’s position for now will be to focus on the question of water security, which is the bone of contention in the current draft agreement.
As far as the states in the region are concerned they will try to persuade the Egyptians that they are also committed to the notion of equitable use of the Nile waters.
THE NILE SUPPORTS EGYPT’S VITAL FISHING INDUSTRY
Egypt is focused on maintaining the current arrangement.
“Their position essentially is, ‘If you leave us to keep 55.5 billion cubic meters of water, we will live within that envelope.’” Tutwiler says, “That will not be easy for the Egyptians because every year the population grows. In fact, every three weeks there is another 100 thousand net gain in the population and the water stays the same,” asserts Tutwiler.
The United Nations says water scarcity exists when a country goes below the national average of 1000 cubic meters per person per year. Egypt needs 80 billion cubic meters of water a year just to avoid water scarcity. Tutwiler says, “Egypt has long passed that threshold because it doesn’t have anywhere near that amount of water for 80 million people.”
Tutwiler says Egypt is making what he calls an admirable effort to develop a strategy to conserve and recycle water and live within its means.
THE UN SAYS A COUNTRY IS EXPERIENCING WATER SCARCITY IF ITS PEOPLE RECEIVE BELOW 1000 CUBIC METERS PER PERSON PER YEAR.
“I think the other countries will probably try to persuade Egypt that whatever specific project that are being proposed will not substantially harm Egypt’s interests, and this I think will be what they will try to say to keep the Egyptians involved in the discussions as cooperators and partners in the basin,” says Tutwiler.
He adds that the Egyptians are willing to discuss those issues in good faith but still are going to think in terms of a kind of bottom line, which is their water security.
ETHIOPIA’S BLUE NILE
Eighty percent of the Blue Nile flows from Ethiopia and reaches the Aswan Dam on the border of Egypt and Sudan. Ethiopia is the key as far as Egypt is concerned
Lately, Ethiopia has undertaken an ambitious program of dam construction in parts of the Nile basin located in its territory. The country has a deficit of power, and most of these dams produce electricity, although some have small irrigation components.
HYDROPOWER AND WATERS FOR IRRIGATION FROM THE NILE COULD HELP DEVELOP RURAL ETHIOPIA
Some studies indicate that properly managed hydro-power dams in Ethiopia could benefit Egypt with more water. “You cannot generate electricity in a hydro-dam unless you let the water through the dam,” explains Tutwiler.
“Secondly,” Tutwiler says, “if you build up a head [of stored water behind the dam] to generate electricity, then in effect you are storing water in Ethiopia where you don’t have nearly as much evaporation as you would in Lake Nasser in the Sahara desert in Egypt and northern Sudan.”
The Blue Nile in Ethiopia is a seasonal river. Most of the water accumulates in the monsoon season between June and September. “By building hydro dams Tutwiler says, “You can actually reduce the effects of flooding and even out the water flow throughout the year.”
This in turn benefits Egypt in terms of the amount of water it can use. According to Tutwiler, it is a kind of ecological balance between, hot season, rainy season, cooler temperatures and hotter temperatures.
WHAT TO DO
“There are many technical solutions as well as developmental projects that can be implemented to improve the ecological balance of the Nile basin,” says Tutwiler.
In the case of Egypt, there is much that can be done to save and reuse water. Tutwiler says Egyptians are actually very much in line with improving their water use efficiently.
Upstream, where the water is generated by rainfall, it’s a different story.
In Ethiopia Tutwiler says, “The watersheds over the last hundred years have suffered a great deal of degradation primarily to deforestation and bad agricultural practices that have created more erosion.”
Tutwiler says the Ethiopian National Water Resources Management Plan has adopted a strategy to try to revitalize a lot of the watershed eco-system so more water can be retained in the soil and in the geology of the Ethiopian highlands.
This would ultimately benefit the downstream countries, because more water would be saved in an ecological and environmentally friendly way with less water lost to run-off or evaporation.
THE CHINA CONNECTION
Tutwiler says politics are changing for the Nile countries. He says as in other African countries, many Nile nations are becoming more stable, and gaining more control over their national territory.
“Ethiopia is a good case in point,” says Tutwiler. “Since the 1970s, after the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, we had prolonged civil wars and instability, and now for almost 20 odd years Ethiopia has had relative stability.
The country is starting to develop. With all these projects in Ethiopia, such as hydro-power plants, the electricity grid extending outwards, water and sanitation improving, society seems to be progressing economically, though maybe not as fast as they should.”
Tutwiler says, “It is the same in Uganda. The country went through a long period of instability and is now starting to firm up and to make progress.”
He says there’s also a great deal of international interest in foreign investment in the Nile basin region today.
Tutwiler says one of the big players in the Nile basin is China, which is helping finance and build dams in Sudan and Ethiopia.
“Previously,” Tutwiler says, “these large dam projects could only be refinanced through institutions like the World Bank. The World Bank used to use its policy to mediate among competing interests in the basin. Now all that has been replaced by the Chinese.”
Breaking Death Dams
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Millennium Dam will break in the following wise:- Let us learn and stop damming
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The genocidal Dictator Melese Zenawie started his construction of the long waited Megalomaniac dams at the expense of Ethiopian inhabitants and its environment with the rest of the riparian states. Especially Egypt, a country in full uprising since the 25th of January 2011 against the three decade Ethiopian type dictator and almost 60 years military rule. The Ethiopian dictator benefiting Egyptians internal crisis is rushing to build his destructive dams. These dams are mainly for the land grabbers and enrichment of the dictator and his equip. The local and regional population needs a human level construction to secure the continual flow of waters, the save guard of their human and natural environment.
The New Massive Dam is being constructed by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation in Benishangul state, very close to the Sudanese border. Sudan and Egypt the traditional stake holders are immediately concerned as water of the Nile waters dwindling by megalomaniac dams. These countries are today caught in the internal convolutions. Sudan is taken by internal division and secession while Egypt is consumed by revolution.
The megalomaniac destructive dam on the Blue Nile construction has been awarded to the same Italian construction company that built the Gilgel Gibe II and Tana Beles dams Salini Costruttori SPA. The Ethiopian dictator has been criticized awarding the projects without a competitive national tender, in violation of its own procurement guidelines. The company has already begun deploying heavy construction machinery to the site to start the project. The so called “project x” power plant will have an electric generation capacity of 6,000MW, which has any utility for the imitate use local population except the multinational foreign land grabbers, and to increase the dictators financial resources to maintain power in Ethiopia at the expense environmental destruction and provocation of water shortage in riparian countries. The Dictatorial regime have forcedly displaced the local population of the region in order not have resistance and immediate revolt th hand to build these deadly dams.
The dam is expected to take at least five years to be completed, in the these period of time the Ethiopian dictator will surely not be there to celibate the end of the project.
The genocidal dictator has already three other power plants, which have been under construction in the past few years waiting to be finished before the fall of the regime following the northern Africa uprising which will soon swipe Ethiopia.
Ethiopian dictator dreams to become an African powerhouse due to its high hydropower potential. However, the highland is situated on volatile volcanic moving tectonic plates. Building a dam in the highland plateau will endanger the lives of millions in down river countries with a disastrous effect to its local inhabitants.
The dictator 2009 declare that the less than 10 percent of Ethiopians had access to electricity and the country is plagued by power outages. The genocidal dictator used the pretext of the countries power shortage kindled by his own blackouts to get support for his megalomaniac schemes. Ethiopia is a country which is not embarked industrialization does not need such amount of electric power. Over 85 % the population is traditional farmers struggling to survive. They can develop alternative and environment friendly project with less than the quarter of the money spend in these projects. The irredentist dictator is using the pretext of water power and famine for its own end to control the impoverished Ethiopians.
The successful completion of this dams is hoped to support the project of land grabbers in areas where the population is displaced areas to produce to 8,000 MW from the current rate of 2000 MW. Ethiopian dictator is planning to control the livelihood of countries of the region by his massive killer dams.
According to the dictator the benefits of the dams are not limited to hydro power, many dams are multi-purpose dams that are also designed to provide water for irrigation and flood control.
The dictator is building all Ethiopia’s power plants in the two main rivers of the Horn of Africa the Nile and the Omo River basin the home of many traditional societies, where their entire livelihood depends on them. Furthermore, both rivers are shared with Ethiopia’s neighbors and for none of them an international water sharing agreement exists were not signed in pre or post colonial, except the Nile. However, Ethiopian dictatorial regime is not a constructive participant in the Nile Basin Initiative. It wen even far by declaring recently war against Egypt just before 25 January revolt in Cairo.
The dictator is warned by the environmentalist that hydropower impoundment reduces water flow for a prolonged period if not permanently, since Ethiopia is located in highland volcanic crater with hundreds of underground volcanic tunnels where water infiltration is evident. In Ethiopia evaporation from the reservoir surfaces constitutes a permanent loss of water from the river though it is less than downstream in Egypt and Sudan. The worst is the irrigation which consumes water in quantities for newly grabbed commercial farms. Thus making it unavailable for downstream population in Egypt, Kenya and Sudan.
The Ethiopia has no agreement with Egypt or Sudan about the sharing of the Nile’s water, but has an international and local responsibilities not to abuse water resources for multinational companies that their only objective is to increase their benefit from their investment in the Land Grapping . Egypt says that its historic water rights would be violated by dams in Ethiopia and that its water security would be affected one way another by such dams in pre revolutionary period. The dictator’s response is ready to go to war than negotiate. Egypt and Sudan concluded a water sharing treaty in 1959. The agreement does not consider the water rights of other Nile riparian states and has never been recognized by Ethiopia. The dams will reduce the flow of water to Sudan and Egypt permanently. And will stop the traditional flooding for Egyptian traditional farmers in the Nile. And will destroy the Omotic population in Southern Ethiopia. In Kenya the Lake Turkana will cease to exist by creating unnecessary drought which we have started to show its effect recently in northern Kenya.
In one of recent studies, assuming an evaporation rate of one meter per year, an irrigated area of 200,000 hectares and a combined reservoir area of 1,000 square kilometers, the flow of the Nile could be reduced by three billion cubic meters per year, equivalent to about 5 percent of the current allocation of Egypt under the 1959 agreement. But Ethiopia has sold and selling millions of hectares to the land grabber which will reduce the water which crosses the high land plateau to zero.
The Omo River flowing to Kenya has been expressed concerns about downstream impacts on Lake Turkana eventually even drying due to direct impact of the upstream dams. The most prominent environmental organizations like Friends of Lake Turkana and International Rivers challenged the project in terms of its ecological destruction. The Doctor Richard Leaky the known paleoanthropologist have taken a strong stand against the damming the river OMO by demonstrating its negative effects in the totality of the regional ecosystem.
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.”