Nile Basin states may resolve difference through negotiations (3)

09:21, August 24, 2010      

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He listed a number of problems faced by the upper riparian states as recurrent drought and rapid desertification, pressures of population growth compounded by abject poverty, high dependence on agriculture, food security, energy security and environmental degradation.

"Millions of people within the basin and beyond rely on the Nile waters for social economic development. For a poor country like Tanzania, its economy heavily depends upon water to ensure food security, energy security and industrial security." he added.

The Tanzanian official also noted that within the Nile Basin in Tanzania, the only most reliable, readily available and accessible sources of water are Lake Victoria and the rivers that drain into it, which include Kagera River and Mara River in the north of the east African country.

Groundwater and rainwater are essentially components of the water balance of the greater Nile Basin and harvesting may also be exploited, according to Mutayoba.

However, in many areas in the basin within Tanzania, the groundwater is saline with high concentration of fluoride above WHO standards, while exploitation of groundwater is more expensive and pumping costs may be beyond reach of local communities, he added.

The Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement was signed by Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia signed on May 14, and by Kenya on May 19, in the absence of Sudan and Egypt.

The new agreement came after years of negotiations among the Nile basin states over the water-sharing problem. Two historical treaties have granted Egypt and Sudan the right to use more than 85 percent of the Nile water.

Stretching more than 6,600 km from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean, the Nile, which has a total flow of 84 billion cubic meters, is a vital water and energy source for the countries through which it flows.

Source: Xinhua
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