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News The threat of a water war

Nations fight over water, especially when access is threatened. Egypt and Sudan have counted on the abundance of the Nile's life-giving flow but now upstream nations want to keep more of the abundance for themselves. Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, and Rwanda are asserting their rights to more of the river's relentless flow. Washington needs to intervene to forestall hostilities between the countries.

A new 2010 Cooperative Framework Agreement, now signed by most of the key upstream abutters, would give all riparian states (including the Congo, where a stream that flows into Lake Tanganyika is the acknowledged Nile source) equal access to the resources of the river. That would give preference to large scale upstream energy and industrial, as well as long-time agricultural and irrigation uses. However Egypt and Sudan have refused to sign the new agreement despite years of discussions. Egypt, which is guaranteed 56 billion of the annual flow of 84 billion cubic meters of Nile water each year, hardly wants to lose even a drop of its allocation. Nor does Sudan, guaranteed 15 billion cubic meters.

Egypt has declared the continued surge of the Nile waters a "red line'' that affects its "national security.'' There is discussion in Egypt about the use of air power to threaten upstream offenders, especially if Ethiopia becomes too demanding.

 

--
Robert I. Rotberg directs Harvard Kennedy School's Program on Intrastate Conflict and is president of the World Peace Foundation 

Contact information © Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.
News type Inbrief
File link http://africancleanwater.com/
Source of information The threat of a water war – The Boston Globe.
Subject(s) AGRICULTURE , HYDRAULICS - HYDROLOGY , POLICY-WATER POLICY AND WATER MANAGEMENT , RISKS AND CLIMATOLOGY , WATER DEMAND
Relation http://www.emwis.org/topics/swrm
Geographical coverage Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda
News date 06/07/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH
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