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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Jun 3, 2010

Egypt and the Nile River Basin Countries

Since May 14th, 2010, when five of the Nile River basin countries signed a new agreement rejected the 1928 and1959 Nile River Water sharing treaties with Sudan and Egypt, the mass media has created an almost panicked situation. Both Sudan and Egypt have already rejected the agreement relying on international law for support of their right to sharing the Nile River. At the same time, during the visit of Kenya’s Prime Minister to Egypt (5/24/2010-5/25/2010), he tried to assure Egyptian high officials that Egypt’s Nile water share will not be threatened by the new agreement.

In previous posts, I have emphasized the fact that the Nile River is Egypt’s lifeline. The Nile River provides Egypt with 95% of its water needs. However, the Egyptian government has been negligent of its responsibility to create a new policy of water consumption for the country as a whole.

Recent reports revealed that 57% of the Nile River water is wasted in many ways. For example, agriculture is consuming 80% of the Nile River water. The traditional irrigation methods that have been used by the Egyptian farmers for thousands of years, must stop and be replaced by new methods of irrigation. Also crops that require more water should be replaced by another crop that requires less water. Second, water recycling must be utilized all over Egypt as it will provide an additional 5 billion cu. met. of water that the country needs.

Third, the Nile River and canals in Egypt have been misused by the public. I have seen people throwing their garbage in the water due to the lack of garbage collection systems that is due to government failure to provide such services.

Fourth, I would venture to say that the Egyptian public in general is under the illusion that there is plenty of water for their ruse. Water use is abused at homes and outside where car washing by doorkeepers is common in many neighborhoods. In many cases the water hose is kept on and the water is kept running because they are not paying for water use.

Fifth, it has been reported that the underground water network is leaking and plenty of water is wasted. Some of these water pipes need to be replaced and this is the government’s’ responsibility.

Sixth, it seems to me that the best way to create public awareness about water use is to increase the prices of water use.

There are other ways and means of conserving water in Egypt. A recent report was published (www.almasry-alyoum 5/24/10), “The second part of the national report about the global weather changes and their impact on the flow of the Nile River Water” that reveals that the Nile River water flow will decrease by 50% by the year 2020 and 90% by the year 2095. The report was prepared by 35 Egyptian scientists in various areas of specialty who developed 10 scenarios about what will happen to the Nile River flow and rainfall as a result of global weather changes. The report should be read by those who can read and understand the critical water situation in the near future on Egyptian society.

Furthermore, the Nile River basin countries are among the most impoverished in Africa. Some of the projects that are being built, such as dams to generate electrical power in Ethiopia, are justified. In addition, agricultural development projects to feed their increasing population is legitimate. Egypt should extend its technical help to help the Nile River basin countries to progress. Such policy is the best approach to assure Egypt its fair share of the Nile River water.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Professor Fakhouri,
    I am an undergraduate student studying the nile basin conflicts. I was wondering what you think how the Great Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia will affect Egypt? Would the efficient use of the nile within Egypt account for the decrease in the supply of water from the nile?

    Thank you very much