| Share facebook | RSS


ambassador Report View

Nile River and Environmental Justice

by Razaan Abakar | 19-07-2018 19:49 recommendations 0

Historical case of current efforts to renegotiate water rights on the Nile River in central and northern Africa. Egypt has legal and real-life claims to the lion?s share of the Nile?s water. Upper riparians, most notably Ethiopia, Sudan, and some of the ?Great Lakes? countries surrounding Lake Victoria (such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania), historically have used far less of the Nile?s flow, or none at all. The story of the Nile is interesting, even gripping, in its own right. The Nile drains approximately 10 percent of the African continent. It flows through 10 riparian countries that contain some 293 million people who are, on average, among the poorest in the world. Any success these riparians have in creating a workable legal regime governing water allocation would be, by most measures, a major diplomatic breakthrough. This might lead to regional improvements in their standards of living and could, perhaps, even avert war over dwindling water resources.

Current efforts to negotiate solutions over the Nile, however, illustrate how gains in optimizing sustainable yield can come at the expense of losses in non-market values (wildlife and ecosystems). In addition, these solutions can drastically affect the ways of life of local populations (such as the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk peoples). Such losses are hardly unique to the Nile. Considerable literature has developed documenting the destruction of ecosystems and displacement of indigenous peoples worldwide by large-scale water-reclamation projects.

From the current vantage point of Egypt, the Nile?s principal user, the major problem is too little water. This, however, wasn?t always so. For over 5,000 years, between 3500 B.C. and the middle of the nineteenth century (A.D.), Egypt?s principal concern was the seasonality of the Nile flood, which brought both water and nutrientladen silt from upstream catchment areas. When the flood was too low, cultivated acreage might be halved, causing widespread famine; when the flood was too high, small-scale riverine irrigation works were destroyed and fields were swamped, also causing widespread famine. Between 1850 and 1950, engineering advances in dam construction allowed for the first major human-built impoundments on the Nile. For example, in 1902 the first dam was completed at Aswan.

In the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement, Egypt and Sudan agreed jointly to finance the construction of such a canal and to share the ?surplus? water thereby created on a 50-50 basis. After delays, caused in part by civil unrest in southern Sudan, excavation of the ?Jonglei Canal,? as the project is known, commenced in 1978. In the early 1980?s, after having partially excavated a canal some 267 kilometers long, the project ended because of renewed fighting between the government of Sudan and rebel forces led by Dr. John Garang. Although Sudan?s ongoing civil war certainly involves issues broader than the Jonglei Canal, it bears noting that Dr. Garang received a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics for his dissertation, ?Identifying, Selecting, and Implementing Rural Development Strategies for the Socio-Economic Development in the Jonglei Projects Area, Southern Region, Sudan.


Environmental Sustainability and Environmental Justice at the international level: Traces of tension and traces of synergy. Donald T. Hornstein. 


no image

  • Dormant user Razaan Abakar
  • recommend


  • Joon Ho Mentor says :
    Hello Razaan, Nile River has maintained its unrivaled stance along the history of human since its importance was bigger than we thought and always it has been like that.
    Though flooding problem affected people negatively thousands of years ago, but its current devotion to people living nearby means not just 'lives' but their 'future', as in means of environmental justice.
    We have to keep its water quality and access more clearer to people who are trying to make use of it.
    Thanks for your report!
    Posted 22-07-2018 23:51

  • Gyeongrin mentor says :
    Hello Razaan
    As water is an essential resource that living being needs to survive, it is most important to guarantee that every people to be able to get access to water resources. So I believe that the importance of water to every living being should be prioritized than other concerning matters.
    Hope renegotiation could reach a reasonable decision.
    Thanks for the report!
    Posted 20-07-2018 23:22

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hi Razaan!

    It is a problem that so many citizens have been struggling for the access of water. Water makes it even adverse is that fact that this is a historical issues that transcends to famine issues. But I do believe that the introduction of optimizing sustainable yield will not be a great loss if we make sure that all the stakeholders are in complete understanding to the problem at hand.

    Because this will also bring about a continuous supply of water to not only the wildlife and ecosystem but the struggling citizens who would gain from this project if made possible.

    I do hope that the renegotiation is still in process and maybe close to reaching a feasible decision.

    Lovely report!
    Posted 20-07-2018 21:57

Post a comment

Please sign in