Mubarak pledges to keep Nile water in Egypt
August 15 2010
While inaugurating the new Saft el-Laban corridor in Giza, President Mubarak assured that Nile water “will not extend beyond Egyptian borders."
Mubarak further called for making optimal use of Nile water, carrying out seawater desalination projects, and using modern technology to develop new types of crops that can be irrigated with salt water in order to satisfy the growing demand for food.
Diaa Eddin al-Qoussi, former advisor to the minister of irrigation, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Mubarak’s statements clearly demonstrate that Egypt will not give up its Nile water quota in order to satisfy Israel. He added that Mubarak’s statements further emphasize that Egypt rejects any negotiations which aim to bring Nile water to Israel.
Maghawri Shehata Diab, former president of Minufiya University and a water expert, said Mubarak's statements reflect a clear understanding of the geographical nature of the Nile Basin, as well as of the political and legal dimensions governing the distribution of water.
In related news, Kenya has announced that it is carrying out an assessment of the impact of Ethiopia's Gibe III Dam. The dam, intended to generate hydroelectric power, would become the second largest dam in Africa after Egypt’s High Dam in Aswan.
The massive dam is scheduled to be completed by 2012 at an estimated cost of US$1.76 billion. Construction of the dam is mainly financed by the African Development Bank. The World Bank withdrew funding for the project under pressure from non-governmental organizations.
The dam will generate 1,800 megawatts of electricity, according to the Ethiopian government, which also says that Kenya has pledged to purchase some of the energy produced by the dam. As a result, Kenyan environmental groups have accused their government of taking greater interest in the well-being of Ethiopians.
The Ethiopian government says that environmental impact studies have shown that the dam will not negatively impact life in any local communities.
The Kenyan Minister of Power said that the Kenyan government and the European Investment Bank will both study the impact of the dam. The results of both studies will be submitted to the Kenyan government in December.
The Kenyan government’s decision to examine the potential impact of building the dam came in response to local and international pressure from rights groups. These groups cited Egypt's threat of military intervention if Ethiopia carried out any projects that would intervene with the flow of the Blue Nile.