Egypt Holds On Tight To Nile Water Rights

nile river egypt ethiopiaAs its grip on the Nile river slips away, Egypt reframes the tone of its negotiations.

Egypt has announced a final effort to re-negotiate the terms of the Cooperative Framework Agreement which apportions water from the Nile River to various basin countries. Since 1929, Egypt has held a near-monopoly on the water, but last year Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda signed the Entebbe Treaty that neither Egypt nor Sudan recognize in order to arrest that monopoly.

At the beginning of April 2011, Ethiopia started construction on the Grand Millennium Dam near Sudan. Egypt asked permission to conduct an assessment to gauge the impact of the 6,000MW hydropower plant on its own water supply, but Ethiopia refused. Almasry Alyoum reports that concerned parties will try one more time to find a fair solution.

Under the terms of the Entebbe Treaty, Nile basin countries will no longer have to ask Egypt’s permission to undertake water diversion projects on the mighty river. Emboldened by this, Ethiopia – which contributes more water to the river’s annual flow than any other country – began construction on a massive dam project.

Egypt sent a 40-person delegation to Uganda in order to persuade President Museveni to oppose the dam project currently underway in Ethiopia’s Benshangul Gumuz state. Egypt’s 85 million inhabitants rely almost exclusively on the Nile for their water needs, while Ethiopia claims that electricity produced by the hydropower project can benefit everyone.

In a last ditch effort to maintain some of its rights to the Nile waters, Egypt’s Water Resources Minister Hussein al-Atfy announced an initiative by the African countries to renegotiate the Nile Basin Framework Agreement.

According to Almasry Alyoum, he said the initiative aims at allowing all people of Nile Basin countries to benefit from the water, and added that international arbitration would be Cairo’s last resort in dealing with this issue.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, in a meeting with the Ethiopian ambassador, expressed a willingness to improve relations between the two countries.

:: Almasry Alyoum

More on the Mighty River Nile:

Defiant Ethiopia to Proceed With Massive Nile Dam

American Elections Are Bad for the Nile Delta

In the Face of “Nilelessness,” Egyptians Protest Water Shortages

image via flickr

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7 thoughts on “Egypt Holds On Tight To Nile Water Rights”

  1. Egypt has no way to dictate Ethiopia by this 21st century. Any such a kind of trial leads to unexpected damage. By this time Ethiopians are peoples who know the right to use its water with in its territory with the will of any body else. No leader has the way to negociate with Egypt on the right of Ethiopian people. Ethiopians has the right to use its water river not only for power generation even for irrigation.

  2. Assefa says:

    A small suggestion on this “Ethiopia – which contributes more water to the river’s annual flow than any other country ”

    must be corrected as “Ethiopia contributes 85% of the Nile water, which is more than 5 times the water contributed by the rest of the countries in the basin combined.”

  3. I completely agree with you Lee.

  4. lee says:

    Ms. Laylin, Egypt has no more right over the Nile, then the portion that flows through it’s own territory. Looking at this from a logical standpoint, how can Egypt claim otherwise? To have such power, to dictate to Ethiopia (among other basin countries) what it can and can not do with water in their respective countries, compromises their sovereignty. Secondly, when the 1929 Nile agreement between Egypt and the British was conducted, Ethiopia was were never consulted. So, that’s irrelevant.

  5. teklit says:

    Thanx Mr.Hussein al-Atfy Egypt’s Water Resources Minister.Although u r too late to start thinking and acting in confirmity to the demands of the 21 century it is not gone.21 century has no place for arogance.
    Ofcourse ,it can be a tablet that is bitter to swallow.But u have to take it if u want to get better.That’s the demand of the day.only cooperation and negotiation are and should be the ultimate solutions of all contraversaries.That’s why I appreciate the current stand of Mr.Hussein al-Atfy Egypt’s Water Resources Minister which was unthinkable before.
    Anyway advise the Egyptians to think twice and more in order to follow the outdated means of thinking and acting.B/c things are changed for the better in every aspect especially in the Ethiopian case.Thanx to the cuurent wise leadership and the committed nad courageous people of Ethiopia.

  6. solome says:

    ethioipa will build dam

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