Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Scientists in 'Egypt Can 3' tackle water shortage crisis - Egypt Today

Scientists in 'Egypt Can 3' tackle water shortage crisis

Sun, Feb. 25, 2018
CAIRO – 25 February 2018: Egyptian scientists abroad are invited to simplify and reach solutions for crisis of water shortage the country faces, said Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram on Sunday. 

This was during the two-day-conference “Egypt Can…with the Sons of the Nile” that kicked off Sunday in Luxor under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi;the conference is attended by Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and other six ministers. 

Makram added that the conference aims to stress Egypt’s strategy to keep its connections with Egyptian expatriates abroad, enabling them to effectively participate in building their country,especially that many Egyptians have achieved great scientific successes in many fields. 

The conference is organized by the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of many Egyptian experts living abroad. 

Minister of Military Production Mohammed el Assar during "Egypt Can...with the Sons of Nie"-Mohammed Zahr

During the two days, Minister of Agriculture Abdel Moneim El Banna, Minister of Military Production Mohammed el Assar, Minister of Irrigation Mohammed Abdel Ati, Minister of Immigration Makram and Luxor’s Governor Mohammed Badr will deliver speeches. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarekel Mola will be among the attendees. 

The Ministry of Immigration invited Egyptian experts in different fields such as irrigation, agriculture and water resources to attend the conference. 

On the first day of the conference, a session entitled “System of Water, Food and Energy Security and its Effects on Sustainable Development”will be held. It will be attended by Minister of Irrigation Abdel Ati, and Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel Ghaffar. 

Also, the “Chance to use Renewable Energy in Irrigation and New Communities” session is included in the first day’s program along with a session entitled “Mechanisms to Benefit from Available Water Resources,” which will be attended by Minister of Military Production Assar. 

Furthermore, sessions on“Application of Space Technology in Water and Agriculture” and “Investment and Local and International Companies in Drinking Water” will be held on the second day. 

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"Egypt Can...With the Sons of Nile"-Mohammed Zahr

This year witnesses the third session for “Egypt Can” conference;the first edition was held in December 2016 under the title “Egypt Can…with its scientists” while the second one was in July 2017, titled “Egypt Can…with its females.” 

This conference comes amid a water scarcity problem faced by Egypt due to the uneven water distribution, misuse of water resources, inefficient irrigation techniques and growing population. 

Egypt annually needs at least 90 billion cubic meters of water to sufficeit 90 million citizens. However, it currently has only 60 billion cubic meters, of which 55.5 billion cubic meters come from the Nile and five billion cubic meters come from non-renewable subterranean water in deserts; therefore, Egypt suffers from a water deficit of 30 billion cubic meters. 

Further decrease in Egypt's water resources is expected in the future as a result of building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will affect Egypt’s share of water. 

Despite the latest negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to resolve the technical issues of the dam, Egypt is keen to expand its desalination projects to overcome any water scarcity problems in the future. 

Consequently, the mega-facility, Al-Yusr Plant in Hurghada, was inaugurated in January 2018 to provide the Red Sea governorate with fresh water instead of current pipelines from the Nile.

Water wars: Tensions build over a Nile dam in Ethiopia | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 major drama is building in northeast Africa, among Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, as Ethiopia nears completion of work on a large new dam on the Nile River.
Part of the Nile, known as the White Nile, rises in the mountains of Burundi, far south of Egypt in Africa. The Nile eventually pours into the Mediterranean Sea in the north of Egypt. The river has served as the stem of civilizations, dating from thousands of years ago. Its waters are absolutely critical to Egypt, upon which that country’s agriculture, electric power and internal transport are heavily dependent. Without its waters, more Egyptians would starve than do already.
Ethiopia has been building for years the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam at its border with Sudan. It’s on what is called the Blue Nile, the river’s other major tributary. The Blue Nile accounts for some 85 percent of the water flowing into the main Nile. Ethiopia is at the point of filling the huge reservoir behind the dam, already, in Egypt’s eyes, putting Egypt’s Nile waters at risk.
Egypt’s complaint is that the Ethiopians have built the dam without, or with insufficient, consultation with it, as to its impact on Egypt. Egypt itself built the massive Aswan Dam, with financing help from the Soviet Union, completing it in 1970.
Sudan, a very dry country, is happy enough with the new Ethiopian dam, which will make irrigation and thus cultivation in it much more feasible than before, attracting investment, increasing food supplies and bringing other benefits.
The United States does not have a dog in the fight, except that it has relatively decent relations with both Egypt and Ethiopia, would not like to see them descend into warfare with each other, and hopes that trouble over the dam will not generate one more war in northeast Africa. There already continues in that region, with American military involvement, the long war between different elements in Somalia, bordering on Ethiopia. The trouble in Somalia started in 1991, and matters there are no better now than they were when the United States first put troops into the conflict in 1992. That war also serves as the justification for the United States maintaining 4,000 troops, jet fighter-bombers and drones in neighboring Djibouti, the former French Somaliland, an expensive U.S. overseas presence.
What needs to be done is increased, improved communication and consultation among Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt over the new dam. All three need the Nile water badly and it can probably be divided in such a way that all three can profit from it. Ethiopia and Egypt hissing at each other serves no purpose. Both countries are heavily armed.
If the U.S. had an active diplomacy to pursue, it could play a useful role in seeking to resolve this problem. No American government would like to sit down at a table with Sudan, given the problems associated with its regime, but the Nile issue is easily important enough to justify Sudan’s necessary inclusion in talks. They could also serve as a forum to seek to resolve some of America’s other problems with Sudan, including Darfur and the civil war in independent South Sudan.
With the Ethiopian dam issue heating up, it could be a good moment for America to step up to the plate to help resolve a serious problem over water, increasingly the basis for major problems in the world.

War Over Water Looms As Ethiopia Nears Completion Of Nile River Dam : NPR

Boats sail on the Nile River in Cairo, Egypt, last October. Tensions between Egypt and upstream Nile basin countries, Sudan and Ethiopia, have flared up again over the construction and effects of a massive dam being built by Ethiopia on the Nile River.
Amr Nabil/AP
A new mega-dam being built by Ethiopia on the Nile River is threatening to spark a war over water and shift political influence in northeastern Africa.
Ethiopia sees the dam as the key to its economic future, but its neighbor to the north, Egypt, fears the dam could spell doom for its water supply, says BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead. The Nile supplies nearly 85 percent of all water in Egypt, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The $4 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam would tower over 500 feet and will generate more than three times the amount of energy produced by the Hoover Dam in the U.S. When completed, it will be the largest dam in Africa and will generate up to 6,450 megawatts of energy.
"Egypt has had control politically of the Nile for millennia," Leithead tells Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson. "And suddenly Ethiopia has now come along — in the middle of the Arab Spring, they started building this dam — now they can, if they want, to control the flow. They say that's not what this is about."
According to the World Bank, about 75 million Ethiopians or three-quarters of the population currently lack access to electricity. The country predicts the energy produced by the mega-dam will help put people to work, Leithead says. Industry growth in the region is a priority because the United Nations predicts the population of Africa will double by 2050.
"It's not about control of the flow, but providing opportunity for us to develop ourselves through energy development," Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia's Minister for Water, Irrigation and Electricity, told the BBC.

But Ethiopia's dive head first into the project has real implications for Egypt's water supply. The United Nations is already predicting that Egypt will experience water shortages by 2025.
"The pharaohs used to say about Egypt that it was the gift of the Nile," Leithead says. "They used to worship the river as a god. And they now see a country upstream with a big tap that if they want to, they can turn off that river's flow."
The dam could exacerbate shortages because as the reservoir behind it fills up, the Nile's water levels could drop by 25 percent for up to seven years, the Geological Society of America estimates.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is pressing Ethiopia to slow down the timeline for filling up the reservoir, but talks between the two countries are stalled, Leithead says.
The mega-dam could both politically and economically transform the Horn of Africa. For some countries downstream, like Sudan, it will provide cheaper electricity, and will help regulate the river's water levels, which are prone to yearly flooding. But Sudan's support could potentially disrupt a 1959 treaty with Egypt that allocates the Nile's waters between the two countries.
"If Egypt 'loses' Sudan — the only country it has a water allocation agreement with, and the only Nile riparian country which can pose significant threats to waters flowing downstream due to its high irrigation potential — that would be extremely risky for Egypt," Ana Casc√£o, an expert on the politics of the Nile, told Foreign Policy.
Ethiopia's drive to complete the project, which the government is funding entirely, echoes the attitude of Egypt when it built the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, Leithead adds.
"You look back at the old footage from a few decades ago in the '60s when Egypt was building the Aswan High Dam, and you see the kind of nationalism, the kind of, 'We are behind this project. This is us as a country doing something dramatic,'" he says. "That is what Ethiopia is doing right now."