Sunday, April 24, 2016

Somalia President scotches claims over Shabelle River closure

: "Somalia President scotches claims over Shabelle River closure

MOGADISHU, Somalia-Ethiopian authorities cannot stop the flow of Shabelle river water into downstream Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told VOA Somali Service. 

Mohamud made remarks in Washington after reports of large scale water diversion in the Somali region of Ethiopia surfaced.  

Somali President added that it is not possible for Ethiopia to make overutilization upstream at the expense of Somalia in line with international water principles. 

Last month, Shabelle River that is dependent on runoffs of Ethiopian highlands dried up, and prompted debates on whether water resource projects in Ethiopia could be the reason.  

Somalia will be investigating the matter, Mohamud disclosed.  

Thousands of farmers in central and southern Somalia use Shabelle and Juba Rivers water for irrigation.  

El Nino-induced drought and severe water shortages have affected considerable swathes in Somalia for months.



Monday, February 22, 2016

Is It Possible for Egypt and Ethiopia to Share the Nile? | Jewish & Israel News

FEBRUARY 19, 2016 5:12 AM 4 COMMENTS
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Oil is the Middle East’s glamor product, sought after by the entire world and bringing the region wealth beyond the dream of avarice. But water is the mundane resource that matters even more to locals for, without it, they face the horrible choice of leaving their homes or perishing within them.
That choice may sound hyperbolic, but the threat is real. Egypt stands out as having the largest population at risk and being the country, other than Iraq and Yemen, with the most existential hydrologic problem.
As every schoolchild learns, Egypt is the gift of the Nile and the Nile is by far the globe’s longest river. Less well known is that most of the Nile’s volume, 90 percent, comes from the highlands of Ethiopia and that the river passes through 11 countries. For uncounted eons, its water flowed to Egypt in uncounted quantities.
In 1929, the British government, representing Egypt, signed an agreement with the independent government of Ethiopia guaranteeing an annual flow of 55.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of water to Egypt. Counting a minimum of 1,000 cubic meters per capita per annum (the average worldwide is 7,230 cubic meters), that amount more than sufficed for the 15 million Egyptians of the day.
The succeeding 87 years saw Egypt’s population increase six times until today it numbers 90 million. Adding to the river’s 55.5 bcm, Egypt gets about 5 bcm from non-renewable underground sources and 1.3 bcm from rain, leaving it with about 62 bcm a year, or one-third less than the country’s minimal needs. In addition, Egyptians recycle about 10 bcm of agricultural runoff water, whose highly polluted nature (fertilizer and insecticide residues) eventually kill the land by salinizing it. Exacerbating this shortage, Egypt’s high temperatures leads to higher rates of evapotranspiration, requiring more water for agriculture than in places with cooler climates.
This water shortfall translates into a need to import food and, at present, Egypt must borrow funds to import an alarming 32 percent of its sugar needs, 60 percent of yellow feed corn, 70 percent of wheat, 70 percent of beans, 97 percent of food oil, and 100 percent of lentils. The need to import will get worse with time; estimating Egypt’s population at 135 million in 2050, it will need 135 bcm annually and, based on present assumptions, the water deficit will more than double to 75 bcm.
Making matters worse, Ethiopians recently woke up to the fact that vast quantities of water leave their territories without any benefit to themselves. Accordingly, they initiated a network of dams, culminating with the pompously named Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
As presently planned, the lake behind this dam would hold 74.5 bcm, plus 5 bcm would be lost through seepage and 5 bcm lost to evaporation. Four auxiliary upstream dams to reduce silting will retain another 200 bcm. Noting that 86 percent of Egypt’s water originates in Ethiopia, Egyptian specialists not unreasonably conclude that the allotted 55.5 bcm would not be forthcoming. Nader Noureddin, professor of soil and water sciences at Cairo University, sees the dams placing “the lives of 90 million Egyptians at risk.” (Most statistics in this analysis derive from Noureddin’s work.)
Ethiopians reply: Not to worry, all will be fine, the guaranteed allotment and more will reach Egypt. When Cairo protests nonetheless, Addis Ababa agrees to one study after another, even as it furiously builds the GERD, which is scheduled to begin operations in 2016, storing an initial 14 bcm.
The potential for disruption is enormous; in 2013, during the Mohamed Morsi era, Egyptian politiciansinadvertently bruited in public their military plans about special forces, jet fighters, and rebel groups to deal with the GERD (shades of the opera Aïda). Morsi now sits in jail but such ideas offer insight into Egyptian desperation.
At base, the Nile River confrontation lies in variant understandings of water possession. Downstream states like Egypt point to the immemorial nature of rivers flowing across borders. Upstream states like Ethiopia point to the water belonging to them in the same way that oil belongs to the Arabs. There is no right or wrong here; resolution requires creative compromise (for example, by lowering the height of GERD saddle dams), allowing the Ethiopians to benefit from their waters without Egyptians facing cataclysm.
Short term, statesmen are needed to prevent disaster. Long term, Egyptians need to learn how to manage water more resourcefully.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan ministers to meet Sunday | Egypt Independent

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan ministers to meet Sunday

A six-party meeting of Foreign and Irrigation ministers from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, will begin on Sunday amid fears of repeating previous negotiation failures.
The three countries hope to agree on the issues related to the studies done on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The three parties are looking to sign a document that governs the results of the studies, in order to ensure they are committed to negotiations following the announcement of these results.
Official Egyptian sources said the six-party meeting will occur amid political conditions that urge the three countries to reach a compromise in order to meet the aspirations of the countries' peoples with regards to development.
The ministers of the three countries are resolved to ending the controversy and tension which have been ongoing for the past five years, ever since the foundations for the Renaissance Dam were laid in 2011. Tensions could enter a new phase next year, as Ethiopia plans to conclude the first phase of the project and announce the storing of 14 billion cubic meters of the Nile water, the sources added.
The next meeting seeks to develop an appropriate mechanism for the road map to activate the agreement of principles on the ground, especially those related to the fifth item of the agreement which governs the start and duration of water storage in the dam throughout the year, said Water Resources Minister Hossam Moghazi.
A mechanism to respond to Egyptian concerns will be developed during the meeting, said Moghazi, stressing that the six-party meeting will complete the final version for the road map agreed upon in Khartoum, as well as Malabo's statement.
Once the three countries agree on the points of contention, the six-party meeting's role will end. Substantive technical negotiations will then begin, said Moghazi, stressing that negotiations are the only means to end the dispute on the technical studies of the dam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Nile Basin challenges and opportunities - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

By Mohamed Yassin
The Nile Basin is an extended unique and rich territory in the African continent, which extends over diverse climatic regimes. Currently, the Nile basin is hosting almost half billion inhabitants (more than 42% of the African total population) and projected to double its populations in a rapid pattern within this century to reach around half of the continent projected population. The Nile Basin is endowed with significant natural resources and considerable biodiversity heritage. The Nile Basin has been and continues to host important civilizations and natural biospheres. The current political composition of the Nile Basin is eleven sovereign riparian states, namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Each of those riparian states has its own challenges and opportunities in terms of proper development, socioeconomic growth and prosperity. Ideally, each riparian can address its own challenges and harvest its untapped opportunities, but in reality each one is interdependent and interconnected with the other adjacent or non-adjacent riparian states in a way or another.
The Nile River is the common binding natural resources for all that countries and historically has been a founding fountain of livelihood for all within the Nile Basin and continue to be an important connection with Mediterranean and Asian populations and rest of the world. These countries have embarked in international and transboundary cooperation and dialogue for the water management, usage and development through diverse fora such as the Nile Basin Initiative with its secretariat in Uganda, Entebbe and the subsidiary offices in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and Rwanda, Kigali. However, most of those efforts were limited only on conflictive focus on the water in separation from the rest of the ecological base and foundation and the supplementary tangible and intangible resources necessary for sustaining a sustainable livelihood in a comprehensive setting. Historically the management of Nile Basin resources have been managed in cooperative and competitive styles depending on epochal phases.
In the contemporary situation, these riparian countries need to have cooperative and sound competitive concerted and coordinated actions. That is a must need to foster the socio-economic development and its sustainability. Of course, each riparian country needs to reconcile its developmental needs and priorities with that of sister riparian country. Any unilateral actions to exploit monopolize the sharable benefits from the River Nile and its ecosystems will results in harmful impacts and outcomes for the very and single actor. It will be impossible for a single riparian country to monopolize the benefits and have the lion share of the River Nile, what so ever it is, unless the riparian countries merge in single institutional body united under the Nile Basin, for example an imaginable and possible the Nile Basin Community. That unionistic and mutualistic transformation might results in more beneficial, supportive, consolidating and solidarity spirit among the integrateable territories of the Nile Basin. All the Nile Basin riparian states as the rest of the planet are facing the challenge of how to reconcile the sustainable development and prosperity with the nature conservations and environmental protection.
The cooperation, collaboration and coordination of the sustainable management of the Nile Basin territorial capital, goes beyond a mandate of single line ministry of irrigation and water resources. A shift to a more inclusive, comprehensive, holistic and participatory approaches are imperative needs for all the Nile Basin community and that shoulders huge responsibilities on those who are currently leading the policy making and formulating the regional planning for the populations of the Nile Basin. All the Nile Basin states have a non-disputable right to carry on its national and strategic developmental short, medium and long terms plans and visions. All are facing challenging and complex food and nutrition security issues dictated by limited resources and growing demography, environmental and climate related challenges coupled with undergoing processes of industrialization and exploitation of the natural endowments, conservation of heritage and erection of infrastructures to sustain the territorial, socio-economic transformation and political stability and dynamics.
If we consider the infrastructures for the hydropower production and distribution, irrigation and resource management needed to boost the sustainable development in the Blue and Eastern Nile countries, namely Egypt, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan, comprehensively we can count around fifteen existing hydropower projects. With diverse developmental status among and within these four riparian countries, and if we go further deeper and extract the planned hydropower projects featuring in their national plans, we will notice that there are around twenty five, more or less new hydropower projects to be erected (See attached maps of the Nile Basin Initiative) to guarantee power security and socio-economic development and stability.
The current dispute and conflictive atmosphere created upon the under construction Millennium or Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is just one spot in the wider developmental scenario which will be witnessed in that Eastern Nile Region. Ethiopia is naturally gifted and endowed with considerable magnitude of water and high lands which qualify it to be an important Hydropower production hub, which can secure its energy needs and goes beyond to supply the region. At the same time, other parts of the region have its endowments which are not equally available among the Ethiopian natural capital and that could be compensate through analogues regional trade (Theory of comparative advantage and international trade can apply and fit the situation).
If we consider the Newly independent republic of South Sudan, we notice that currently it has zero hydropower plant and in its national strategic plans, it is qualified to erect around four hydropower projects which are Fula, Shukoli, Lakki and Bedden, and Sudan has plans to erect numerous new dams in addition to the newly terminated Morowe dam, these are Dal Low and Dal High, Kagbar, Dagash, Shereik and Sabaloka dams. While Egypt has a planned new dam at Assiut / Asyut. Doubtless, the erection of all that planned hydropower plants and projects will have huge socio-economic, environmental, ecological, landscape and territorial transformations and impacts, negative be it or positive. Surely that makes the cooperation among these directly engaged riparian countries as well as the rest of the Nile Basin Countries an non escapable necessity.
The future scenarios require frank dialogue and courageous confrontations putting a Nile Basin integrated community as top priority to address the current and latent challenges and at the same time work collectively to share the potential benefits of the expected positive and contractive transformation.
Mohamed Yassin is a Sudanese and Italian PhD candidate (2013-2015) in Economics, Ecology, Landscape and Territory at the Department of Civil Engineering & Architecture, University of Udine, Italy. He holds B.Sc. in Agricultural and Rural Economy (UoK Sudan), PGD in Rural development in Developing countries, PGD in International Development Cooperation, Masters in International Business Import Export Management and a M.Sc. in International Veterinary Cooperation (Italy). He has been visiting scholar at the University of Minnesota (USA) where he conducted research works on the Nile Basin. He is reachable at E: E:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Djibouti-Ethiopia water project launched | Shanghai Daily

DJIBOUTI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Sunday officially launched the cross-border water supply project between Ethiopia and Djibouti, in the country's southern town of Ali-Sabieh.
The event which was attended by a strong ministerial delegation from Ethiopia, coincided with the celebrations to mark the World Water Day.
The project involves supply of groundwater from Ethiopia's Hadagalla town to Djibouti's key towns of Ali-Sabieh, Dikhil, Arta and the capital
Through the project, Djibouti will be freely receiving 100,000 cubic meters of water daily for the next 20 years.
The project whose cost was estimated to be 22 million U.S. dollars that was provided by China Exim Bank, will be implemented by CGCOC, a Chinese company that also won the tender to construct a road linking the two countries.
With the launch of this project, the Djiboutian government hopes to end the perennial water problem and embark on achieving its long term development programs.
Guelleh said with this project, his country had managed to win the battle against water shortage which had always been an obstacle to Djibouti's development.
With an annual average of 200 mm of rain water per year in most parts of its national territory, Djibouti has always been classified as a country in a chronic water stress situation.
Drought, famine and their corollary consequences such as nomadic movement, impoverishment of the rural population and death of animals have worsened the situation, making local authorities to prioritize water shortage since the country's independence 38 years ago.
Speaking after the ceremony, Djibouti president hailed the existing economic partnership between his country and China.
"I particularly want to thank China. We are grateful to have China as our first economic partner," Guelleh said, adding that his country had excellent relations with China.
"China has always been on our side, it has trusted us and it is not like other countries that criticize our choices. On behalf of the Djiboutian government and people, I want to say thank you to the People's Republic of China," he concluded.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sudan: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Sign Deal on Water Sharing -

EgyptEthiopia and Sudan signed an initial agreement Monday on sharing water from the Nile, which runs through all three, as Ethiopia presses ahead with its construction of a massive new dam it hopes will help alleviate the country’s power shortages. The dam had been an issue of contention among the countries, with Egypt concerned it would reduce its share of the Nile established under a colonial-era agreement. But on Monday, leaders of the three nations welcomed the agreement in speeches in Khartoum. It outlines principles by which they are to cooperate to use the water fairly and resolve any potential disputes peacefully, leaving details on specific procedures to be determined later after the release of joint, expert studies.