Local News

A new hydroelectric dam in South Sudan: a threat to Egypt?

Amman Today

publish date 2023-04-24 11:28:40

Nikkei Asia magazine, the most famous Asian economic magazine, revealed a current conflict between Chinese banks on the one hand and the World Bank on the other hand, regarding the financing of a “huge hydroelectric dam” on the course of the White Nile in the state of South Sudan, in order to generate 2500 megawatts / hour, which raises questions. About its repercussions on the water flowing to Egypt, which is already facing a great danger due to the giant Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia, whose construction is nearing completion.

The magazine said in a report published on April 19, that China “views investment in the energy sector in African countries, as part of the long-term Chinese initiative known as (the Road and Belt), while the United States looks at China’s growing role in the African continent in particular.” In the field of clean energy, as a strategic reduction of the US role in Africa, and that China’s success in developing the energy sector in African countries will make it a major competitor to many American and European companies that monopolize the field of strategic infrastructure for African countries.

The report confirmed that the Chinese state’s investments in the field of energy in African countries amounted to approximately $14.5 billion until the end of 2020, including investment in building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, within a total of $54 billion invested in African countries during the period between 2018 and 2020, while The World Bank, with US recommendations, provided an amount of investments equivalent to only $34 billion over the same period.

Turning water into a commodity

The Egyptian researcher in the field of environment and development, and the coordinator of the “Right to Water in the Arab Region” forum, Abdel Mawla Ismail, said in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “building dams, whether the Renaissance Dam or other dams, is not only aimed at obtaining hydroelectric energy, but His goals are much further than that, which is the issue of turning water into a commodity, which is not only an ecological issue, but takes on both economic and political dimensions.”

He added, “Limiting the issue of dams, especially the major ones, to the issue of energy, is right to be wrong, as the main goal is to trade in water, and we have repeatedly warned of this trend that Egypt unfortunately started at the hands of the former Minister of Irrigation, Mahmoud Abu Zaid, and his important role in establishing The World Water Forum, which was supported by international financial institutions as well as transnational companies that trade in water, in connection with the Nile Basin countries initiative in 1998 under the auspices of the World Bank and with Egyptian approval.

Ismail continued: “The beginning of building dams at the headwaters of the Nile has serious repercussions, both in terms of the environment and in terms of people’s right to access water, and its repercussions will have huge negative effects, especially with regard to deepening the food gap and water exposure, as now the average per capita share in Egypt Without the limits of water poverty, and there are major problems in agricultural expansion in the future, because our share of water is fixed, and we have a water gap that almost reaches nearly 100% in 2050, and then we will remain in a state of water deficit, and at that time the payment will be in exchange for obtaining water.

Ismail said: “We have no way out of this impasse except to adopt a completely different discourse at the international, regional and local levels, as well as affirming that water is a common human heritage, which no party may monopolize or control, as well as the implementation of the legal principles of international rivers, and the affirmation of the principle of fair and just use.” And that we adopt the refusal to commodify and commercialize water (converting water into a commodity and trade), and what this requires of a clearer position in rejecting the policy of building major dams, and the role of international financing institutions in that, means rather a discourse based on affirming and implementing international humanitarian law in fair and just use And exit from any agreements that contradict those principles.

For his part, Egyptian dam engineering expert Mohamed Hafez said in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “In fact, the talk about building a huge dam on the course of the White Nile in the State of Sudan had come from the words of the South Sudanese Deputy Foreign Minister Deng Dau Deng, who stated in June / June 2021, that his country is planning to achieve a dream it has been aspiring to achieve for a decade to build a large dam on the Nile River, to provide cheap electricity and help prevent devastating floods, during the visit of the Egyptian Minister of Irrigation at the time, Muhammad Abdel Ati, to the state of South Sudan, and his promise to establish the state The Egyptian government is building a small dam on one of the branches of the Jour River in the Bahr al-Ghazal Basin (the Siwi branch), which was known as the Wau Dam, which is capable of generating about 10 megawatts, and providing clean drinking water for nearly half a million Sudanese citizens, in addition to providing irrigation water for about 35 thousand feddans.

Reducing water flows

Hafez explained that “in general, building a small dam or even two dams within the limits of 5 billion cubic meters each in the swamps area in the state of South Sudan is good for the state of South Sudan, and also for the Egyptian state, because the volume of water losses in those swamps is very large and one of the reasons for the spread of poverty.” In the state of South Sudan, and that building a number of small dams is a good thing to reduce the volume of losses in that region, but on condition that the capacity of any of these dams does not exceed 5-7 billion cubic meters, so that they can be emptied at the end of the water year, in anticipation of filling them again after The arrival of the new water year flood, just like the Roseires Dam or the Merowe Dam in the State of Sudan.

He added: “As for the event that the state of South Sudan decides to construct a large dam with a capacity of more than 7 billion cubic meters, such as the Tanzanian dam that is being built by the Egyptian “Arab Contractors” company in Tanzania, which has a capacity of approximately 34 billion cubic meters and generates approximately 2100 megawatts / hour, then this will be The dam is as dangerous as the Renaissance Dam for the Egyptian state, as the White Nile provides the Egyptian state with about 15% of its water share, and building a huge dam that holds more than one flood in the storage lake will be an additional obstacle to reducing the water flows of the united Nile that flows into Lake Nasser (southern Egypt). “.

However, Hafez believed that “from a purely technical point of view, the construction of a huge dam the size of the Tanzanian dam, for example, in the swamps of the state of South Sudan, is a major engineering challenge for any Chinese or American company, due to the weakness of the lands of the state of South Sudan bordering the course of the White Nile, where it consists of These lands are from very weak soil known as black cotton, and building on them requires very expensive soil improvement operations, perhaps equivalent to 50% of the costs of building the dam.

For his part, the Sudanese researcher interested in issues of agriculture and natural resources, Saqr Al-Nour, said: “According to the news, the dam that South Sudan aspires to build is an electricity dam, and electricity dams in general do not affect the downstream countries after filling their reservoirs, except in the case of using the stock in agricultural activities, and here it shrinks.” The amount of water that reaches downstream countries.

Al-Nour added that “during the years of filling, an agreement is reached about it and benefiting from the years of high floods, and avoiding filling during the drought, which are the most important requirements. As for the exchange of information and coordination between reservoirs, it is a second very necessary condition, especially in the case of large dams that affect the flow of the Nile.”

As for the last thing, it is the possibility of coordination and electrical and water connection in a way that allows these reservoirs to work for the benefit of everyone in times of prolonged flooding. A task published in the famous journal Nature.

This perception indicates that the Nile’s revenue is likely to increase as a result of climatic changes, but the fluctuation and lack of discipline in the flood and dry seasons may also increase, and therefore storage may be beneficial if everyone agrees on sharing mechanisms in times of prolonged drought or extreme weather events.

(The New Arab)

#hydroelectric #dam #South #Sudan #threat #Egypt

Jordan News

Source : اخبار الاردن

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button