Nile Basin countries seek equitable distribution of water


Nile River Basin, African continent's longest river

from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Ethiopia Bureau
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – COUNTRIES that heavily depend on water resources from the African continent’s longest river – Nile are desperately seeking urgent solutions on how best to equitably utilise the water resource without any tensions.

The Nile river, which boasts a basin drainage covering 11 countries comprising of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya,  Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda gathered here last weekend at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to discuss the 3rd Annual Forum for Regional Integration and Reasonable Utilization of the Nile under the theme “Shared resources for shared future and prosperity.”

The Basin countries sought to establish a legal framework to help them address critical challenges associated with the growing demand for usage of water for purposes of crop farming, hydro-electricity, water for both domestic and industrial.

Several scholars that participated called upon the 11 countries that feed from the Nile River water to come together in order to address the question of equitable distribution of the water resource without leaving out other peoples’ needs and wants, especially the increasing water demand for food, domestic purposes, energy and industrial.

One of the key issues raised in the meeting was how best the 11 countries would manage the transboundary water resource for equitable distribution without sidelining other countries.

Another issue of concern was the lack of financial and technical capacities for the 11-member countries in fairly utilising the Nile River water for shared usage such as electricity, agriculture, domestic and industrial.

“The countries in the Nile Basin need to add value to their common water resources to generate energy, produce food, and deal with climate change,” University of Nairobi lecturer Musambayi Katumanga was quoted in the local media.

It has been widely agreed that fair utilisation of the Nile water would see an unpsurge of development in the Horn of Africa and countries of the Great Lakes region.

The summit was attended by Ethiopian state minister of foreign affairs, Mesganu Arga,  who urged member states to enforce the Cooperative Framework Agreement in order to realise full benefits of the Nile River for all.

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered the longest river in the world, though this has been contested by research suggesting that the Amazon River is slightly longer.

About 6,650 km (4,130 mi) long, the Nile River’s drainage basin covers eleven countries that include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt.

In particular, the Nile River is the primary water source of Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan. Additionally, the Nile is an important economic river, supporting agriculture and fishing.

The Nile has two major tributaries: the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile is traditionally considered to be the headwaters stream. However, the Blue Nile is the source of most of the water of the Nile downstream, containing 80% of the water and silt.

The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region. It begins at Lake Victoria and flows through Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet at the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

– CAJ News

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