Nile Basin

Egypt in DeNile

For hundreds of years, Egypt has had a monopoly on the water supply of the Nile River. Over 11 countries rely on the Nile for water supply, yet Egypt continues to place water allocations upon riparian states. Those states being: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. At present there is no Basin wide agreement upon the allocation of water and low-level conflicts between riparian states still occur. As population growth and economic development increases pressure on the Nile, countries such as Egypt who relies on the Nile as it’s main source of water, guards what water they can.

While Egypt is allocated 55.5 billion cubic meters of water (this figure is correct as of 2014, Masoud), considerably more than other states, it is in disagreement with Ethiopia constructing a dam to implement hydroelectric power as a power source. Admittedly this dam will be the largest dam in Africa, however Ethiopia claims that countries such as Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia will benefit from this dam, yet Egypt still guards its waters religiously.

Egypt’s hegemonic power continues to cause problems with the allocation of the Nile water resources. The late Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, is quoted to have said: “Any action that would endanger the waters of the Blue Nile will be faced with a firm reaction on the part of Egypt, even if that action should lead towards war”. Furthermore, Egypt’s power over the other riparian states can be seen through its own implementation of new mega irrigation projects while refusing other countries the same opportunity.

Perhaps Egypt should look towards environmental politics in sorting out the conflict rather than declining any treaty or trade negotiation which they are offered. This suggestion comes not from myself but from research done on the environmental sustainability of the Nile River, as the growth of the countries that rely on the Nile Basin is slowly adding pressure on the Nile as a water resource. Yet in the countries which rely on the Nile as their main water source, the debate on water continues to be politicised.

The Nile River Basin