Avoiding a Water War in the Nile Basin Director’s Colloquia Series Los Alamos National Laboratory March 1 !

"## By David $% Shinn Ad&unct 'ro(essor )lliott School o( *nternational A((airs +eorge Washington ,niversity Why the Concern? Lester Bro-n! (ounder o( World-atch *nstitute! argues that -ater scarcity is the .single biggest threat to global (ood security/ and there is today little -ater le(t -hen -ater (rom the Nile reaches the Mediterranean% *nternational con(lict e01ert 2homas $omer3Di0on suggested that con(lict is most 1robable -hen a do-nstream ri1arian is highly de1endent on river -ater and is strong in com1arison to u1stream ri1arians% )gy1t has this relationshi1 -ith u1stream ri1arians% 4ormer )gy1tian 'resident An-ar el3Sadat stated in 156#7 .*( )thio1ia ta8es any action to bloc8 our right to the Nile -aters! there -ill be no alternative (or us but to use (orce%/ 2he (ormer )gy1tian De(ense Minister reiterated in 1551 )gy1t’s readiness to use (orce! i( necessary! to 1rotect its control o( Nile% )thio1ia’s 4oreign Minister said in 1556 .% % % there is no earthly (orce that can sto1 )thio1ia (rom bene(iting (rom the Nile%/ When 9enya declared in "##: that it -ill not acce1t restrictions on the use o( -ater (rom La8e ;ictoria or the Nile! an )gy1tian o((icial res1onded that the statement constituted a declaration o( -ar% )thio1ian 'rime Minister Meles <ena-i -arned in "##= that .i( )gy1t -ere to 1lan to sto1 )thio1ia (rom utili>ing the Nile -aters it -ould have to occu1y )thio1ia and no country on earth has done that in the 1ast%/

" 2he current )gy1tian 4oreign Minister! in res1onse to demands by u1stream ri1arians to revie- the Nile treaties! commented in "##= that )gy1t -ill not give u1 its share o( Nile -ater% )gy1t’s Water ?esources Minister said in "##= that )gy1t could even obtain an increase in its quota% Most u1stream countries are see8ing to use more -ater be(ore it reaches )gy1t% Water is limited@ ri1arian needs are gro-ing@ the 1otential (or con(lict is real% 2he Nile basin has a long history o( con(lict (or reasons unrelated to Nile -ater issues% Basic Basin Facts: 2he Nile is the -orld’s longest riverA:!1:= miles% By contrast! the Mississi11iBMissouri is C!D:# miles% 2he Nile basin covers 1%C million sq% miles@ it is a little larger than *ndia% 2he start o( the annual (lood in )gy1t is (airly 1redictable@ it al-ays occurs bet-een mid3 May and early Euly% $igh -ater in )gy1t is normally reached in Se1tember% But the volume o( the annual (lood varies enormously and is totally un1redictable% 4or e0am1le! the (lo- at As-an in 156D -as a very lo- =1 billion cubic meters@ the (ollo-ing year it more than doubled to 1#6 billion cubic meters% 2he average annual (lo- o( Nile at As-an (rom 16D# to 1566 -as 66 billion cubic meters% 2he late 15D#s through 156D -ere unusually lo- (lo- years causing dee1 concern! es1ecially in )gy1t and Sudan% 2his 1eriod coincided -ith (amine in )thio1ia -hen about 1 million 1ersons died% 2he average annual (lo- (rom 1566 to "##1 recovered to 6 billion cubic meters% 2he annual (lo- o( Nile measured at As-an has diminished signi(icantly since the 15##s% 2he volume o( Nile -ater is much less than other ma&or river systems in A(rica such as the Congo! Niger! <ambe>i! and ;olta -hile demand (or -ater is much higher%

C 2he Nile 1roduces only 1: 1ercent o( the Mississi11i’s annual discharge% About "## million 1eo1le live in the Nile basin% 2he high 1o1ulation gro-th rates 1ut added strain on (inite Nile -ater% 'o1ulation in the basin is 1redicted to double bet-een 155= and "#"=% Large numbers o( livestoc8 de1end on -ater in the basin% Agriculture is the biggest -ater consumer@ continent3-ide it accounts (or 66 1ercent o( usage% Riparian Countries: 2here are ten ri1arian countries@ the most im1ortant are )gy1t! Sudan! )thio1ia! and ,ganda% 2he others are 9enya! 2an>ania! Congo! ?-anda! Burundi! and )ritrea% 5= 1ercent o( )gy1tians live in the Nile ;alley and de1end on the river (or (resh -ater% Nile -ater is a li(e or death issue (or )gy1t% )gy1t may be more de1endent than any other country in the -orld on (resh-ater that comes (rom outside its borders% )gy1t is economically and militarily the strongest nation in the basin and also most vulnerable because o( -ater de1endence% 2he Nile is also crucial (or Sudan@ DD 1ercent o( Sudan’s (resh -ater comes (rom outside its borders! most o( it via the Nile system% 6 1ercent o( the -ater reaching As-an comes (rom )thio1iaA=5 1ercent via the Blue Nile@ 1: 1ercent via the Sobat ?iver@ and 1C 1ercent via the Atbara ?iver% Fnly 1: 1ercent arrives via the White Nile (rom ,ganda and the southern ri1arian states% 'ro1er management o( La8e ;ictoria is the most im1ortant issue (or 9enya! ,ganda! and 2an>ania% C 1ercent o( the Nile basin is in Sudan! 1" 1ercent in )thio1ia! and 1# 1ercent in )gy1t%


Riparian State Basic Statistics: 'o1% Millions "##C 'o1% +ro-th ?ate 155=3mr 1%5 "%C "%= "%6 "%" "%C "%= 6 D : 6=# =%: "%# "%D "%: Average Annual G gro-th +D' 155=3mr :%5 %" :%= %C 3"%: 1%D :%6 5%5 #%# 1% C%D +ross National *ncome 'er ca1ita H "##C 1C5# : # 5# "=# 1## :## C1# 15# 5# 15# C

)gy1t Sudan )thio1ia ,ganda Congo 9enya 2an>ania ?-anda Burundi )ritrea A(rica

6 C: 5 "= =C C" C


Riparian State Cereal Production, Drought Years, and Power Statistics: Cereal 'roduction 2housand Metric 2ons "##C )gy1t Sudan )thio1ia ,ganda Congo 9enya 2an>ania ?-anda Burundi )ritrea A(rica 15!6## !:## 5!### "%C## 1! ## "!6## :!### C## C## 1## 1"5!=## Cereal 'roduction Average Annual G gro-th 155=3mr C%C 31%6 :%6 C%= #%1 31%5 1%# 1#%" 1%# 3C%: #%6 6 NA # 1# 5 Drought Iears 156#3 "##: )lectric 'o-er Consum1tion 'er Ca1ita 9W$ 155=3mr 5#" =D "" NA := 1"1 =6 NA NA NA =1C

# 1# 1=

Legal Situation7 $istorically! )gy1t and Sudan! (ollo-ing inde1endence (rom the ,9! determined Nile -ater allocations% 2he 15"5 agreement bet-een )gy1t and the ,9 Jon behal( o( SudanK gave )gy1t :6 billion cubic meters annually and Sudan : billion cubic meters% )gy1t and Sudan renegotiated the 15"5 agreement in 15=5% Based on an annual (lo- into La8e Nasser at As-an o( 6: billion cubic meters! the 15=5 agreement bet-een )gy1t and Sudan allocated ==%= billion cubic meters Jthree quartersK o( the -ater to )gy1t and 16%= billion cubic meters Jone3quarterK to Sudan% 2he agreement assumed that 1# billion cubic meters! the di((erence bet-een the 6: billion cubic meter in(lo- and the D: billion cubic meter total allocation! -ould eva1orate (rom La8e Nasser% Based on an historical average annual (lo- o( 66 billion cubic meters into La8e Nasser! the allocations to )gy1t and Sudan leave a small sur1lus in an average year% )gy1t and Sudan agreed to share equally any sur1lus% 2hese treaties resulted in a virtual )gy1tian and Sudanese mono1oly o( Nile -ater% No other ri1arian signed the 15"5 and 15=5 agreements@ Sudan and )gy1t argue that the treaties established a minimum base (or their -ater rights% )thio1ia 1rotested in 15= and 15=D the negotiations over the 15=5 bilateral agreement bet-een )gy1t and Sudan% Several other ri1arians have disavo-ed the treaties% Legal rights to -ater in any river basin! including the Nile! are 1olitically controversial! legally obscure! and emotionally volatile% 2here is an inherent incom1atibility bet-een the .equitable share/ arguments o( the u1stream ri1arians li8e )thio1ia and ,ganda and the .historic needs! established rights! and no signi(icant harm/ arguments o( a do-nstream country li8e )gy1t% Sudan has con(licting interests because it is both a do-nstream and u1stream ri1arian%

D )01erts -ho have analy>ed the 155D ,N Watercourses Convention say it can not resolve issues in the Nile basin% rrigated !griculture in Basin: *rrigation dominates agriculture in climatically dry )gy1t and northern Sudan% About 1: million acres are under irrigation in the t-o countries% )gy1t has begun the Northern Sinai irrigation 1ro&ect that includes Salaam Canal under the Sue> Canal and eventually -ill use an additional :%: billion cubic meters o( -ater to resettle more than " million )gy1tian (amilies% When com1leted in "#1D! the Ne- ;alley 'ro&ect -ill divert another = billion cubic meters o( -ater annually (rom La8e Nasser by canals to )gy1t’s south-estern desert% 2he goal is to cultivate a hal( million acres and resettle D million )gy1tians% Sudan no- irrigates only about 1 1ercent o( its arable land and has ma&or 1lans (or e01ansion% )thio1ia has about a hal( million acres under irrigation! but has the 1otential to irrigate 5 million acres% 2here is minimal irrigation no- in the White Nile ri1arian states% 9enya! ,ganda! and 2an>ania have 1lans to develo1 about 1 million acres% 2he u1stream irrigation 1ro&ects are a threat to Nile -ater availability in )gy1t and! to a lesser e0tent! Sudan% But the huge ne- irrigation 1ro&ects in )gy1t and Sudan 1ose threats to u1stream ri1arians! es1ecially )thio1ia! by ma8ing ne- demands on e0isting Nile -ater% "ydropower in the Basin: 2here are numerous dams (or hydro31o-er in the basin@ some also 1rovide -ater (or irrigation% 2he best 8no-n is the As-an dam in )gy1t% Sudan has the ?oseires and Sennar dams on the Blue Nile and the 9asham al3+irba dam on the Atbara% Sudan is moving ahead -ith ne- dams at the Crd and :th cataracts o( the Nile%


)thio1ia has the 4inchaa dam on a southern tributary to the Blue Nile and is constructing a ne- dam on the 2e8e>e ?iver! -hich becomes the Atbara ?iver in Sudan% )thio1ia 1lans to double its hydroelectric 1roduction% ,ganda has the F-en 4alls dam on the ;ictoria Nile and is constructing another do-nstream% Several other ri1arians are constructing hydro1o-er dams or have 1lans to do so% Dams only (or hydro1o-er are not serious threat to the do-nstream use o( -ater as they only bloc8 -ater on a one time basis% #he $onglei Canal: Fne o( the most controversial basin 1ro&ects -as the )gy1tian bac8ed canal 8no-n as the Eonglei in southern Sudan to move a substantial amount o( White Nile -ater around the -orld’s largest (resh-ater s-am1Athe Sudd% Fn average! CC billion cubic meters o( -ater enter the Sudd annually% A(ter eva1oration! only 1 billion cubic meters leave% By avoiding eva1oration loss in the Sudd! the "":3mile long Eonglei Canal -ould ma8e available almost = billion cubic meters o( -ater! divided about equally bet-een Sudan and )gy1t% 2he environmental im1act on the Sudd is not clearly understood@ estimates suggest it -ould decrease in si>e by about one3third% ,sing the -orld’s biggest buc8et -heel! e0cavation o( the Eonglei reached mile 1 in 156: -hen the Sudan 'eo1le’s Liberation Army JS'LAK attac8ed the 1ro&ect and sto11ed it a(ter D# 1ercent o( the canal had been dug% 2he buc8et -heel continues to rust in 1lace@ resuming e0cavation -as not 1art o( the discussions during the recent 1eace agreement bet-een 9hartoum and the S'LA% Most southern Sudanese believed the 1ro&ect -ould only bene(it northern Sudan and )gy1t% *t -ill not be 1ossible to restart the 1ro&ect -ithout the consent o( the southern Sudanese government% "ow to !%oid War7 2he ri1arian countries have ta8en im1ortant ste1s to minimi>e con(lict% miles


2hey created several organi>ations to resolve 1roblems coo1eratively% 2he most im1ortant one is the Nile Basin *nitiative JNB*K! a regional 1artnershi1 o( ri1arians that 1rovides a (orum (or the coo1erative develo1ment o( Nile -ater resources% )ach NB* member has agreed to share in(ormation -ith other ri1arians on 1ro&ects it intends to launch and! i( 1ossible! underta8e &oint studies to ensure the sustainable utili>ation o( -ater% 2he NB*! -ith strong su11ort (rom the World Ban8! ,ND'! and Canada! em1hasi>es basin3-ide coo1eration% 2he World Ban8 coordinates the *nternational Consortium (or Coo1eration on the Nile J*CCFNK! -hich 1romotes (inancing (or coo1erative -ater resource develo1ment and management in the basin% 2he World Ban8 also administers the Nile Basin 2rust 4und! a mechanism to im1lement basin3-ide 1rograms% Some 1rograms can -or8 to the bene(it o( most ri1arians such as im1roving -ater quality! encouraging cultivation o( cro1s that require less -ater! reuse o( drainage -ater! and im1roving the environment in -atershed areas% Countries -ith signi(icant hydroelectric 1o-er 1otential li8e )thio1ia could build dams and sell 1o-er to Sudan and )gy1t% ,1stream dams can also tra1 sediment that is causing 1roblems in Sudan’s reservoirs and )gy1t’s La8e Nasser% )va1oration at La8e Nasser is about 1" 1ercent and it is also very high in hot and lolying Sudan% Fn the other hand! it is only about C 1ercent in the )thio1ian highlands@ -ater (or Sudan and )gy1t can be stored more e((iciently in )thio1ia and 1erha1s in ,ganda% Better storage -ill 1ermit the more e((ective allocation o( -ater in times o( scarcity and reduce (looding during high (lo- 1eriods% Coo1erative basin3-ide develo1ment can 1rovide the ri1arians greater net bene(its than they -ould achieve through unilateral develo1ment 1ro&ects% Most im1ortant! it -ill reduce the 1otential (or con(lict% 2he Nile basin o((ers a huge o11ortunity (or the international community to engage in con(lict 1revention%


Role &or the 'S(: 2he ,S should elevate Nile basin coo1eration to a ma&or (oreign 1olicy 1riority in the region and treat it as a 1otentially signi(icant con(lict that can be 1revented% *t should ma8e coo1erative solutions (or the use o( Nile -ater a routine 1art o( its di1lomatic dialogue -ith all ri1arian states% *t should -or8 -ith and su11ort (inancially the Nile Basin *nitiative! the Nile Basin 2rust 4und! and *CCFN% *t should o((er to (inance technical assistance by a11ro1riate ,S institutions to develo1 regional climatic models! short and long3term hydro meteorological (orecasting! and modeling o( environmental conditions% *t should encourage the NB* to dra- on ,S technical e01ertise in areas such as remote sensing and +eogra1hic *n(ormation Systems J+*SK (or the multitude o( technical and environmental issues that (ace Nile basin ri1arians%