Sunday, March 19, 2017
Nile Basin ministerial committee concludes meetings in Khartoum
Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Mar 2017
File Photo: Egypt's irrigation and water resources minister Mohamed Abdel Ati (Photo: Al-Ahram)
A committee of water ministers and officials from six Nile Basin countries concluded meetings in Khartoum on Monday, with Egyptian concerns around water share due to be discussed later this month in Uganda, Egyptian state news agency MENA said.
The meetings, which began earlier this week, included "long discussions wherein Egypt presented all its concerns regarding the Nile Basin Initiative and the Entebbe agreement," Egypt's water resources minister Mohamed Abdel Ati was quoted by MENA as saying.
The Entebbe agreement, more commonly known in English as the Cooperative Framework Agreement, has been signed by six Nile Basin countries: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Egypt and Sudan have declined to sign the treaty, which sets out principles and obligations of member states in regard to the use of Nile Basin water resources, citing concerns about its reallocation of Nile water quotas as well as other provisions.
Historic water-sharing pacts between Egypt and Sudan divide the Nile waters between the two countries.
The Egyptian minister said that a meeting scheduled to take place later in March in Uganda by the council of ministries of the Nile Basin countries is planned to discuss the results of the Khartoum meetings and Egypt's concerns as well as look at "solutions and alternatives that… guarantee collective benefit and prevent harm," the minister added.
The meetings were attended by water ministers of Uganda, Sudan, Egypt, Rawanda as well as representatives from Kenya and Ethiopia.
The Nile Basin Initiative has ten permanent members -- Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Eritrea has observer status.
The under-construction Grand Ethiopian Dam, which when complete will be Africa's biggest hydroelectric dam, has been a source of concern for Egypt in recent years, with some experts arguing that filling and operating the dam will reduce the water that flows downstream to Egypt.
March 18, 2017
The individuals had traveled from Eritrea to the dam in order to act out their attack, Zadig told.
Ethiopia has foiled an "Eritrean-sponsored terrorist attack" on the multi-billion dollar Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, an official told Anadolu Agency Thursday. Seven other attackers who crossed over into Sudan were later handed back to Ethiopian authorities by the Sudanese government, Abrha said.
Egypt and Sudan continue to express concern over the potential reduction of their share of the Nile water as Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project is about halfway complete and is expected to be operating by July 2017. He said he has "never heard of this group".
The $4.2-billion dam expected to generate up to 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power is now under construction on Ethiopia's Blue Nile near the Sudanese border.
Initial investigations appear to show that the detainees are affiliated to the opposition May 7 Movement which is banned in Ethiopia and allegedly supported by Eritrea, Anadolu reported. Eritrea only seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year independence war, and the two countries have regularly clashed on the boundaries of their borders.
On its part, Eritrea's government denied any knowledge of the rebel group and termed the allegations by Ethiopia as preposterous.
The power plant with a capacity of generating 6,450 MW of electricity is slated for completion in 2018.
The project has been a source of tension between Ethiopia and Egypt, with the latter saying that the dam could reduce the amount of Nile water flowing into Egypt.
Ethiopia has received backing for the project from five other Nile Basin countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Ethiopia’s GERD dam will make Egypt’s Nile delta sink under the Med, study says15 March 2017 | By GCR Staff1 Comment
It may be Ethiopia’s symbol of national pride, but the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being built for hydroelectric power on the Blue Nile will have grave and unexpected consequences for its downstream neighbour, Egypt, according to a report published in the US.
The multi-year study of Egypt’s Nile Delta estimates that GERD could reduce the flow of water to Egypt by as much as 25%, restricting its fresh water supply and diminishing its ability to generate power.
These are already matters of contention between the two countries, but the study published by the Geological Society of America (GSA) flags up another, unexpected risk – that of the eventual submerging of parts of the low-lying Nile Delta region under the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
In their paper published in the journal, GSA Today, Jean-Daniel Stanley and Pablo L. Clemente argue that GERD’s restriction of Nile-born silt onto the delta, combined with sinking of the delta due to natural seismic compaction, could mean that parts of delta surface now above sea level will be underwater by the end of this century.
The scientists call for some form of arbitration by regional or global bodies to be applied to the “delicate situation”.
They worry, too, about the wider region, where some 400 million people live in the 10 countries along the Nile, with some now already experiencing severe droughts and unmet energy needs and “a multitude of economic, political, and demographic problems”.
The soil-rich delta evolved as the result of natural conditions involving the Nile’s fresh water flow and transport of sediment northward from Ethiopia, across Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean.
About 70% of water flow reaching Egypt is derived from the Blue Nile and Atbara rivers, both sourced in Ethiopia.
“It is hoped that rather than resorting to threats and military action, some form of arbitration by regional or global bodies be applied to the delicate situation”– Geological Society of America paper
Over the past 200 years, rapidly increasing human activity has seriously altered flow conditions of the Nile. Emplacement in Egypt of barrages in the 1800s, construction of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902, and the Aswan High Dam in 1965 have since altered water flow and distribution of nourishing organic-rich soil in the delta.
Egypt’s population has rapidly swelled to about 90 million, with most living in the soil-rich Lower Nile Valley and Delta. These two areas comprise only about 3.5% of Egypt’s total area, the remainder being mostly desert.
Due to much-intensified human impact, the delta no longer functions as a naturally expanding fluvial-coastal centre.
Less than 10% of Nile water now reaches the sea, and most of the nutrient-rich sediment is trapped in the delta by a dense canal and irrigation system.
The low-lying delta plain is only about 1m above present sea level. The northern third of the delta is lowering at the rate of about 4-to-8mm per year due to compaction of strata underlying the plain, seismic motion, and the lack of sufficient new sediment to re-nourish the delta margin being eroded by Mediterranean coastal currents.
While the coastal delta margin is being lowered, sea level is also rising at a rate of about 3mm per year. Delta lowering and sea-level rise thus accounts for submergence of about 1cm per year.
At present rates, saline intrusion is now reaching agricultural terrains in central delta sectors, and the scientists say parts of delta surface will be underwater by the year 2100.
Ethiopia, itself energy-poor and undergoing drought conditions, is nearing completion of GERD, the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa.
The large reservoir behind the dam is to be filled over a period lasting up to seven years, during which it is expected that the amount of Nile flow to the delta will be reduced by as much as 25%, the scientists say.
This down-river decrease of Nile fresh water will produce “grave conditions”, they add.
Water and food shortages
Without GERD, the Nile supplies around 97% of Egypt’s present water needs, with only 660 cubic meters per person, one of the world’s lowest annual per capita water shares.
With a population expected to continue surging, Egypt is projected to experience critical fresh water and food shortages.
“It is hoped that rather than resorting to threats and military action, some form of arbitration by regional or global bodies be applied to the delicate situation,” the authors write.
- “Increased Land Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise are Submerging Egypt’s Nile Delta Coastal Margin”, was written by Jean-Daniel Stanley, Senior Scientist Emeritus, and Pablo L. Clemente, Research Fellow, Mediterranean Basin (MEDIBA) Project, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. It is available to view here.
Image: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Blue Nile, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa (http://www.geosociety.org/)