New Book on Nile Says Water War is Unlikely

By Merga Yonas
Nov. 10, 2012

A new book titled “Nile River Basin: Water, Agriculture, Governance and Livelihoods” argues that the risk of a water war is secondary, saying that the poor should have a fair and easy access to the river. The new book by the CGIAR and International Water Management Institute suggests that the river has enough water to supply dams and irrigate parched agricultural plots in all the 10 members’ state of the Nile Basin.

Ethiopia, where the lion’s share of the river flows to the downstream countries – Sudan and Egypt – has the potential to use the water for agriculture and development, Sileshi Bekele, editor of the book and senior water resource and climate specialist with UNECA told The Reporter.

Despite attempts to cooperate with the ten countries to share the river, they often disagree about how these finite resources should be shared among the inhabitants of  the region who atre estimated to be about 180 million. According to Sileshi, half of the stated population of the region who rely on the river for their food and income are living below the poverty line.

The book looked into the history, the major current events and future challenges and the opportunities surrounding the Nile River. It provides insights into agriculture, water resource, governance, future plans and their implications.

The book did not include the prospects and challenges of the Grand Renaissance Dam (GRD) project since the Ethiopian plan came after the book got edited, Sileshi told The Reporter.

Regarding the possible water war in the future, Sileshi said, “I don’t think there would be a reason if the undergoing integration through development is rewarding for all riparian countries.”

“Unless there is another reason, I don’t think the construction of GRD would lead to war,” Sileshi explained.

The book looked at the major challenges of poverty, Simon Langan, head with the East Africa and Nile Basin office in International Water Management Institute, told The Reporter. The Nile Basin Initiative should also take its course on the livelihood dimension in its project as well.

Source: The Reporter Ethiopia