Water Conflict in Nile Basin Riparian Countries
As the rapid population growth continues to be a major threat to developing countries’ progress, one of the things most affected by it is water. While the quantity of water remains static, studies have revealed that the population more than doubles every 20-30 years in developing countries (Coast Ernestina, 2002:5). This rapid population growth also is remarkable in the Nile Basin countries. Carolyn Lamere (2012) alerts that the population of Nile Basin Initiative countries is projected to more than double over the next 40 years, from 429 million in 2012 to 945 million people. Bearing in mind that the downstream of the Nile Basin is in the region with “water scarcity”-North Africa, this study will critically analyze the problem of the distribution of the Nile water with focus on Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia and conflicts lain over that distribution. It will conclude by advising on how to use the Nile water without inciting conflicts. Objectives of the study
This study aims at examining the effect of the rapid population growth in the Nile Basin and the surrounding areas on water resources. It also analyzes the conflicts resulting from water distribution in Nile Basin especially between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. It further recommends on how to fairly share and use the water of Nile River to avoid unnecessary conflicts. Background to the study
While ¾ of the earth are believed to be covered by water, researchers have proven that only 3% of fresh water is salt-free or fresh water. According to Farzaneh R-F, Liz C&Roger M.S (2002), nearly 70% of flesh water is locked in glaciers and is not available for human use. Nonetheless, the available renewable fresh water is unfairly distributed and even threatened by the rapid population growth and human activities pollution. But what countries are the most affected and how does or could that affect other countries? The Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which is home for 6, 3% of the world population and yet contains only 1.4% of the world’s renewable fresh water could witness and predict more about water scarcity in the coming years. While water is in the centre of every human activity such as manufacturing, food preparation, washing, cleaning and other domestic activities, the more the population growth the less renewable fresh. According to the Population Reference Bureau (2002), a country is considered “water stressed” when its total renewable fresh water resources lie between 1,000 and 1,700 cubic meters per person per year and a country with less than 1,000 cubic meter of renewable fresh water per person per year is considered “water-scarce” (Farzaneh R-F, Liz C&Roger M.S 2002:2) . On the map below, the countries in light brown are MENA countries.
Water scarcity in MENA
Tough it does not include all MENA countries, the above graphic shows water problem in MENA region. Only one country-Lebanon- on the graphic escapes the water scarcity problem today but still, is also in the “water stressed” range. The Egypt-lower stream of the Nile Basin- is in the range of water scarcity. And as you can see, ¾ of MENA countries have less than 500 cubic meters of renewable fresh water. The graphic illustrates a continuous water reduction per capita each year in the region. However, Egyptian census data shows that in 1948, Egypt's population reached nearly twenty million, added another twenty million by 1975, twenty million more by 1994, with the populace reaching sixty million. Another twenty million over the next seventeen years means eighty million Egyptians by 2011(Magued Osman, 2013:1). From the above data, Egyptians needed thousands of years to reach the first twenty million, before managing to double several times in a few years, without creating a concomitant increase in agricultural land or available water to ensure securing the necessities of life. This makes Egypt more cautious on the use of the water...
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