Water: Whose Nile Is It Anyway?

By Scudder, Brian; Wild, Jon | The Middle East, April 1994 | Go to article overview

Water: Whose Nile Is It Anyway?


Scudder, Brian, Wild, Jon, The Middle East


Almost imperceptible but critical changes are taking place in the approach of Nile-basin states to their water supply. As The Middle East observed in its February issue, there is considerable concern throughout the region about the potential for conflict posed by scarce water resources. Brian Scudder and Jon Wild report that the waters of the Nile may yet be equitably shared without bringing the countries through which it runs to armed confrontation.

INFLAMMATORY STATEMENTS made over the past few years (particularly by Egypt and Ethiopia) have suggested to many commentators that war over Nile water is inevitable. The reality is that although still fiercely outspoken these governments are letting slip their pretence to war readiness, and are slowly and quietly developing closer contacts. Confrontation over water is nothing new, but despite dire predictions it may yet be resolved diplomatically.

The Nile 2002 Conference held in Khartoum at the beginning of February was attended by nine of the ten Nile-basin states ranging from Egypt to Tanzania. It takes its name from the hope that a new multilateral agreement on Nile water use will be reached by 2002. Previous conferences made little headway, but this time there are signs that entrenched positions are shifting.

Egypt has always argued that the 1959 Nile Waters Agreement between itself and Sudan is irrevocable. The treaty allocates Egypt 55 cubic kilometres of Nile water per year of which it uses all. The Sudan receives the remaining 18.5 cubic kilometres from the total of 74 cubic kilometres, leaving other Nile-basin states (notably Ethiopia which is the origin of over 80% of Nile water) without specific allocations.

The Egyptian state governs 55m people, and with population growth set to double that figure by 2025 politicians and engineers often argue that access to this volume of water is vital to their ability to support the population. Such hard-nosed facts would seem to add strength to their arguments and increase the likelihood of armed conflict.

However, such a scenario disregards the possibility of an industrially powerful Egypt which could contemplate using less water, and feeding its population (as it already does to a large extent) without relying on indigenous food production. Some experts believe this could happen if it were to receive the right kind of international assistance, assistance that an overarching Nile-basin agreement would certainly unlock.

Such arguments may go some way to explaining why Nasir Ezzet, an Egyptian representative, said at the Khartoum conference: "We recognise the needs of other Nile-basin countries. Each riparian state could have an equitable share of the waters of the Nile." For the first time, Egypt has publicly shown flexibility in its approach to water allocation.

Egypt may be moving towards the realisation not only that a war over water would be too costly in terms of manpower and resources, but also that the benefits of a new agreement could be enormously important for Egypt's international standing.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Water: Whose Nile Is It Anyway?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.