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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Cairo - Asharq Al-Awsat

Egypt, Sudan Seek to Boost Water Cooperation

The Egyptian and Sudanese ministers meet in Khartoum on Saturday. (Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation)

Egypt and Sudan stressed on Saturday joint cooperation to address water resources and develop the work of the Egyptian-Sudanese Technical Authority for Nile water.

Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hani Sweilam met with his Sudanese counterpart Daw Al-Bait Abdul-Rahman in Khartoum.

Sweilam hailed the deeply-rooted ties linking Egypt and Sudan, and their long history of cooperation in various areas, especially water resources.

For his part, Abdul-Rahman emphasized the need for cooperation with the Nile Basin countries, especially in dealing with floods and ways of controlling them.

The two ministers toured the headquarters of the permanent Egyptian-Sudanese Technical Authority for Nile water.

The authority is specialized in conducting studies to optimize the management of the Nile River waters and ensure integrated coordination in exchanging data of measurement stations in Egypt and Sudan in a way that helps both governments to effectively manage their water resources.

The officials also visited an under-construction forecast center established in coordination between the two countries to launch a unified hydrological database for the river's revenues.

According to a statement from the Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the ministers were briefed on the activities of the joint Technical Authority for Nile Water, especially after the resumption of the work of the committee's meetings in Khartoum last October, following a four-year stop.

Sweilam said the permanent Egyptian-Sudanese Technical Authority for Nile water has been working efficiently since its establishment in 1960, based on the 1959 Nile Water Agreement between Egypt and Sudan.

“The authority is specialized in conducting research and studies to optimize the management of Nile water,” he said.

Currently, Ethiopia is in dispute with both Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that it has been building since 2011.

The massive $4.2 billion GERD is set to be the largest hydro-electric scheme in Africa.

Cairo says the project threatens its “rights” to the waters of the Nile River, calling for a binding legal agreement with Addis Ababa and Khartoum that regulates the rules of filling and operating the dam and preserving its water security.

Egypt suffers from a scarcity of water resources and needs about 114 billion cubic meters annually, while the available water resources amount to 74 billion cubic meters.

The Nile water accounts for about 97 percent of Egypt’s needs or 55.5 billion cubic meters.

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