Sunday, March 19, 2017

Looming crisis of the much decreased fresh-water supply to Egypt's Nile delta -- ScienceDaily

Date:
March 13, 2017
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
A multi-year study of Egypt's Nile Delta places the country's major breadbasket at serious risk. 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 the Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean.
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Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) under construction on the Blue Nile in northern Ethiopia, near the Sudan border. This will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.
Credit: Jean-Daniel Stanley and Pablo L. Clemente and GSA Today
A multi-year study of Egypt's Nile Delta places the country's major breadbasket at serious risk. 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 the Sudan and Egypt to the Mediterranean.
About 70% of water flow reaching Egypt is derived from the Blue Nile and Atbara River, both sourced in Ethiopia. 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 the Aswan Low Dam in 1902, and the Aswan High Dam in 1965 has since altered water flow and distribution of nourishing organic-rich soil in the delta.
Egypt's population has recently swelled rapidly 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 sandy desert. Due to much-intensified human impact, the delta no longer functions as a naturally expanding fluvial-coastal center. 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 1 m above present sea level. The northern third of the delta is lowering at the rate of about 4 to 8 mm 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 3 mm per year. Delta lowering and sea-level rise thus accounts for submergence of about 1 cm per year. At present rates, saline intrusion is now reaching agricultural terrains in central delta sectors -- the coastal 20 to 40 km of delta surface will be underwater by the end of this century.
There is an additional looming danger of considerable importance: Ethiopia, itself energy-poor and undergoing drought conditions, is shortly (in 2017) to complete construction of the largest hydro-electric dam in Africa, its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). The large reservoir behind the dam is to be filled over a three- to five-year or longer period, during which it is expected that the amount of Nile flow to the Sudan and Egypt and its delta will be substantially reduced.
This down-river decrease of Nile fresh water will produce grave conditions. The pre-GERD Nile flow now barely supplies 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 double in the next 50 years, Egypt is projected to have critical countrywide fresh water and food shortages by 2025. It is hoped that some form of arbitration by regional or global bodies will be applied to this rapidly evolving situation, especially with regard to the three East African countries most impacted along the Blue Nile: Egypt, The Sudan, and Ethiopia.

Story Source:
Materials provided by Geological Society of AmericaNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Jean-Daniel Stanley, Pablo L. Clemente. Increased Land Subsidence and Sea-Level Rise are Submerging Egypt’s Nile Delta Coastal MarginGSA Today, 2017; DOI: 10.1130/GSATG312A.1

Cite This Page:
Geological Society of America. "Looming crisis of the much decreased fresh-water supply to Egypt's Nile delta." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170313135006.htm>.

South Sudan & Congo child soldiers


Nile Basin ministerial committee concludes meetings in Khartoum - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online

Nile Basin ministerial committee concludes meetings in Khartoum

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Mar 2017
Egypt
File Photo: Egypt's irrigation and water resources minister Mohamed Abdel Ati (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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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.

Concern Mounts in Egypt, Sudan over Ethiopia's Giant Dam on Nile

James Marshall
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 says -GCR -

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, under construction on the Blue Nile, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa (http://www.geosociety.org/)

Ethiopia’s GERD dam will make Egypt’s Nile delta sink under the Med, study says

15 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”.
Background
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.
Already sinking
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/)
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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Egypt sneaky strategy against Ethiopia - South Sudan News Agency





Kampala, March 5, 2017 (SSNA) – In an exclusive interview on Sunday, a former Ugandan intelligence agent told the South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) that Egyptian government is actively pursuing a sneaky military strategy against Ethiopia’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and that Egypt is also assisting South Sudanese government in its war against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO).
James Moises, the former intelligence operative alleges that Egypt and Uganda mutually agreed last year to achieve what he described as “two different interests. Moises went into details, explaining why Uganda and Egypt joined forces against Ethiopia and South Sudan’s armed opposition.
“First of all, Egypt’s diplomatic campaign to stop Ethiopia from constructing GERD has failed. Secondly, Uganda failed to destroy South Sudanese rebels. These two different interests are the ones uniting Cairo and Kampala,” Moises said. Adding, “Addis Ababa must not believe Cairo and Kampala when talking about anything related to GERD.”
“This is a sneaky strategy against the Ethiopian government,” he asserted.
Moises revealed to the SSNA during the interview that Ugandan President first proposed to the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in December 2016 that if Cairo agrees to give Juba weapons and ammunition it wants to defeat the SPLM/A-IO, then Uganda would support any campaign Egypt wants against Addis Ababa. He further disclosed that Museveni even promised el-Sisi that he has what it takes to bring on board other East African countries to back-up Cairo.
Egypt supplies South Sudan with weapons and ammunition
Moises also disclosed that Egypt is supplying South Sudan with sophisticated weapons, ammunition, and modern military equipment, adding “Kampala manages Cairo military aid to South Sudanese government.”
This is not the first time James Moises make claims like these.
In July 2013, about four months before South Sudan civil war broke out; he wrote an article exposing Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni meddling in South Sudan internal affairs. His piece caused panic in the entire East African region and around the world and widely credited for exposing Uganda’s troops presence  in South Sudan before the war erupted.
Moises also warned in November 2015 that the August 2015 peace deal would not succeed, saying South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and his Ugandan counterpart Museveni had already drawn up a plan to prevent the implementation of the agreement. He then disclosed that Kiir and Museveni’s scheme to frustrate peace implementation would include first agreeing to IGAD and the international community brokered demands, allow rebels to come to Juba, and then start a war in the capital.
Last month, the rebel military command accused Egyptian air force of carrying out air attacks on its positions in Kaka town in Upper Nile.  Cairo denied the allegations.
South Sudanese rebels also alleged in January that  Egypt and South Sudan had strike a dirty deal, alleging the pact between the two countries includes a secret sabotage campaign against Ethiopia’s GERD.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Three Maps Show How Water Access Can Make Or Break A Nation

Water access can impact a country’s geopolitics in many ways. The first (and one of the most obvious) is sea access. Access to the world’s oceans enables a country to use major maritime shipping routes. It also opens an additional route by which a country could project force by having a navy.
The need to gain and maintain ocean access can lead to war. One major factor in the War of the Pacific in South America (1879-1883) was control over access to the southern Pacific. Bolivia lost its ocean access as a result of this war, and to this day, continues to seek ways to recover it.
A more current example is Russia’s invasion of Crimea. The goal here was to create a larger buffer around Russian naval facilities in Sevastopol.
The Mighty Mississippi
Access to waterways also clearly impacts trade. Rivers provide cheaper means of shipping goods to port for export. This makes a country’s exports more competitive.
I’ve written extensively about US strategy as it applies to water access in This Week in Geopolitics (subscribe here for free). One of the most strategic riverways in the world is the Mississippi River system in the US.
Two great rivers, the Missouri and the Ohio, flow into the Mississippi. This river system is navigable and empties into the Gulf of Mexico.
This waterway allows virtually any part of the land between the Rockies and Appalachians to ship goods inexpensively through this river system and on to other countries.
In this case, the US acquired these lands primarily through the Louisiana Purchase. That was followed by a war with Mexico and the annexation of Texas. This led to the expansion of a buffer zone to the west of the Mississippi River.
The Nile
Rivers can also be sources of power in terms of relations between states. This is the case with the Nile River.
Approximately 85% of all water reaching the Nile River in Egypt originates in Ethiopia from the Blue Nile, Atbara, and Sobat rivers. Of these rivers, the most important is the Blue Nile. It accounts for nearly 60% of the Nile’s water in Egypt.
Given that Egypt is mostly a desert climate, the country depends on the river for water and agriculture. At present, Egypt has concerns over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (which should be operational this year). Any moves made by Ethiopia that affect water flow or quality could jeopardize water access downstream.
So far, this concern has been dealt with through diplomacy. But in the mid-1870s, the Khedevite of Egypt invaded Ethiopia via Eritrea in an attempt to gain control of the Nile River. This war lasted for two years.
Syria’s Droughts
The absence of water can indirectly lead to conflict. This map shows areas in Syria where there were six or more years of drought from 2000 to 2010. Prolonged droughts can destroy a region’s agriculture and livestock, exposing local food supplies to great risk.
The Islamic State took control of some of this territory only a few years after the drought. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction published a study in 2011 that looked at this drought. The report implies that social and economic ruin caused by drought contributed to the rise of IS.
Historians have also noted a correlation between major famine due to drought in Ethiopia and the fall of regimes, such as the Derg.
While drought in these cases did not serve as a direct trigger for observed violence, there is a strong correlation between the absence of water and social and economic instability.
The Importance of Access
Water has an underlying geopolitical importance. Access and control over this feature can provide strategic standing to a country. In some cases, it can even enhance this standing in terms of military projection, trade, domestic stability, and leverage over other countries. For this reason, water can be a great source of conflict among nations… conflict that has the potential to rise to the level of warfare.