Egypt starts to weak up seeing her water share dwindling by dams in the Nile Basin

January 15, 2013 in Water Crisis

Water ministry rejects new Nile agreement

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Treaties ensure Egypt receives 55.5 of the 84bn cubic metres of water that flows through the Nile annually
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The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Baha’a El-Din said on Saturday that Egypt will not be signing the Entebbe agreement with other Nile-Basin countries as the agreement in its current form is not suitable for downstream countries such as Egypt.
According to the State Information Services, the minister told the official Chinese news agency Xinhua that the Entebbe agreement is useless without Egypt and Sudan’s signatures.
China is investing in water development projects across several Nile Basin countries. Baha’a El-Din told China that any water project they fund must not have a negative effect on Egypt.
Historically Egypt has always had the largest share of the Nile water. In 1929 Egypt was ensured the lion’s share of the water by Britain and in 1959 Egypt and Sudan signed an agreement which guaranteed 55.5 billion cubic meters of water to Egypt annually, of the estimated 84 billion cubic metres.
The irrigation ministry spokesperson Khaled Wasif said that Egypt actually needs another 7bn cubic metres to cover a water shortage. The Entebbe agreement, Wasif said, does not touch the issue of water but nevertheless there are three contentious issues which the nations have not been able to resolve .
The first issue surrounds how decisions are made. The upstream nations want decisions to be taken by a majority vote, whereas Egypt is demanding consensus.
Wasif said: “Second, we need everyone to respect previous agreements. We have had our share of the water for thousands of years and we need to respect previous agreements made by Italy, Belgium, England and other countries that occupied Egypt and the Nile Basin countries.”
The third issue raised by Egypt surrounds the construction of water installations along the Nile: “We need to be informed before other nations install any water structure.” Wasif added that Egypt did not have to approve the construction, but it would need to be kept informed in order to determine what effect the construction could have on the water quota.
When the colonial agreement which guaranteed a majority of the water for Egypt was made, Egypt’s population far surpassed that of its upstream neighbours. Now however, countries such as Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rival Egypt’s population, with an estimated 91m and 71m people respectively, although the DRC relies mostly on the Congo River.
Ethiopia, which supplies most of the Nile with its water, is technically not guaranteed any water from the colonial agreements. In an effort to deal with the unequal water distribution, the Nile Water Basin agreement was set up in 1999 by nine of the countries that share the Nile, including Egypt and Sudan. To further combat the monopoly on the water guaranteed by colonial treaties, a new agreement was drawn out in 2010, which Egypt and Sudan have not recognised.

Egpt’s Nile quota too lowy

: Minister – Economy – Business – Ahram Online Spokesman at water resources ministry says Egypt requires extra 7 billion cubic metres of water than it takes from Nile River each year Bassem Abo Alabass, Monday 14 Jan 2013 PrintSend

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Egypt faces an annual 7 billion cubic meters of water (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt will need almost 50 per cent more Nile water by 2050: Experts

Egypt’s quota of water from the Nile River is not enough, a spokesperson at the water resources ministry told Ahram Online by phone on Monday.
Khaled Wassif confirmed what Water Resources Minister Mohamed Bahaaeddin said on Saturday in an interview with the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Wassif told Ahram Online that Egyptians currently consume roughly 62 billion cubic metres of water per year from the Nile River, but the official quota is 55.5 billion cubic metres.
“We are handling the 7 billion cubic metres gap in annual water consumption through water-recycling methods,” he explained.
In May 2012, the Egyptian National Planning Institute stated that Egypt would need nearly 50 per cent more Nile water by 2050 to cater for an estimated population of 150 million people.
According to Xinhua, Bahaaeddin repeated Egypt’s refusal to sign the Entebbe agreement with the Nile Basin countries regarding the reallocation of Nile water.
“The Entebbe agreement is useless without the signatures of Egypt and Sudan,” the State Information Services has quoted the minister as saying telling Xinhua.
Egypt is a member in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a partnership of Nile states aiming to share the river’s socio-economic benefits and promote regional security.

Nine countries are involved in the initiative: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bahaaeddin said the Egyptian government was looking forward to the partnership with Ethiopia regarding the $4.1 billion-Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region, which will be completed by 2015 and generate 6000 mega watts of electricity.