Nile River Basin Hydro-Graphics
THE NILE RIVER BASIN, known for having the world’s longest river, spans one tenth of Africa. In this arid basin 80 million people use its water, while river overuse threatens further desertification and transboundary conflicts. All eleven countries in the Nile Basin want more access to water. The 1959 Nile Treaty granted 87% of Nile water usage solely to Egypt, 13% to Sudan. The treaty denied water rights to Ethiopia, whose Blue Nile supplies 86% of the Nile’s downstream volume. This inequity of water rights causing limited irrigation and food insecurity is a focus of the Nile Basin Initiative. Facing a need for food aid for 2 million, the Ethiopian government is now building the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile (to be the largest hydro-dam in Africa), while Egypt irrigates crops in the desert for export to Europe.
Adding to issues of water availability in the Nile Basin, climate change is shortening wet seasons and intensifying dry periods. This further limits food production in the Horn of Africa. Continued deforestation will further damage the environment and reduce water retention. Failure to address the need for sanitation and community wells will perpetuate rural health issues. Transboundary cooperation in addressing these needs is essential.
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