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Making Water Security: A Morphological Account of Nile River Development


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This book examines Nile water security through the morphology of the river: it uses the always changing form of the river as a theoretical and empirical device to map and understand how infrastructures and discourses dynamically interact with the Nile. By bringing a history of two centuries of dam development on the Nile in relation with the drainage of a hill slope in Ethiopia on the one hand and irrigation reform in Sudan on the other, the author shows how the scales, units and ‘populations’ figuring in projects to securitize the river emerge through the rearrangement of its water and sediments. The analysis of ‘Making water security’ is more than yet another story of how modern projects of water security have legitimized often violent dispossessions of Nile land and water. It shows how no water user is confined by the roles assigned by project engineers and planners. As ongoing modern ‘development’ of the river reduces the prospects for new large diversions of water, the targeted subjects of development and modernization make use of newly opened spaces to carve out their own projects. They creatively mobilize old irrigation and drainage infrastructures in ways that escape the universal logic of water security.
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... Back to the 12 th century, research has revealed that religious conflict has promoted Ethiopian Christian kings to warn Muslim Egyptian sultans of their power to divert Nile River waters [29]. Besides, it has been reported that, in 1979, a former Egyptian president had issued a war threat to supposed violators of Egyptian rights over Nile waters [30,31]. Most recently, in 2012, a plan to construct an airstrip for bombing a dam in the Blue Nile River Gorge in Egypt was widely reported by newspapers across the world [29]. ...
... Different arrangements have isolated most NBC from their basic water resources. Though different studies account for socio-political scenarions and arrangement over Nile waters, most recent study [31] presents a succinct history of significant arrangements and clashes in the region. The British government, in a representative capacity of her colonies within the NRB, in 1929, concluded an agreement between Egypt and Sudan to strengthen an effective utilisation of Nile wasters, with each riparian country allocated 48 billion and 4 billion cubic metres, respectively. ...
The Nile River, which is geologically located in Africa, has increasingly become a source of disconcerting transboundary concern to the riparian states. Likewise, it is virtually generating a shared concern to Africa and the international community at large. There are various irreconcilable claims of ownership as well as management issues that have permeated mainstream debates about the Nile River. The growing population of the riparian states is one of such key issues, and by implication, poses a potential conflict of far-reaching international consequences related to equitable management and sustainability of Nile waters. To boot consequences of international conflict, high population growth can trigger an increase in urban and semi-urban anthropogenic activities with negative impacts on human life, soil, water quantity, water quality, and forest when pollution well exceeds a certain bound of a threshold. This means an understanding of the potential negative impacts of high population growth is conversely crucial in understanding a possible panacea towards maintaining better human security, safe freshwater, functional ecosystems, equitable resource allocation, sustainable resource management, and utilisation, as well as enduring mutual, peaceful co-existence. This study analytically evaluates the potential impacts of high population growth on the riverine ecological environments in the upper Nile countries. Essentially, it analyses latent, correlative impacts of population growth on security, water quality, water quantity, the environment, and economics by using ecological risk indicators and global and local datasets. Findings show that the increasingly rapid population rate in the Nile riparian countries has an implication for domestic, regional, and international security, with severe conflict as a possible ultimate end. Finally, it shows further that overpopulation generates matchless, competitive pressure on water resources and undermines its sustainability, suggesting that riparian countries are most likely to become ‘water scarce’ nations. The chapter has crucial policy implications for measures that can be used to clearly understand and address the possible impacts of high population growth in society.