25 August 2014

East Africa: Region Rethinks New Water Strategy As Pressure Piles Up On Nile

THE population in Nile Basin countries is projected to increase to 749 million people by 2025 from the current 437 million persons, posing far- reaching impacts on water resources availability in the region.

The Nile Basin countries are Tanzania, Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Eretria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

A senior official in the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), Mr Tom Wakko, told the just-ended Nile Journalists Training Workshop held in Entebbe, Uganda, that by 2025, the population within the basin is projected to increase by 312 million.

"This will create pressures through increased water demands and pollution and the need for more water related services," he said while presenting the paper on "Population, Development and Nile Environment."

Mr Wakko explained that the population increase would lead to more land clearing for agriculture, more water supply for human and livestock consumption hence escalating pressure on Nile resources.

He went on to say that some communities along the river use the ecosystems to provide direct service, including fuel, fish and medicines and that the social, demographic and economic drivers are fundamental factors that adversely impact on Nile water resources management and use.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Engineer Mbogo Futakamba, said the government believes the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) would address such challenges.

"We are waiting for the Parliament to pass it (CFA) after being approved by the ministerial cabinet," the Deputy PS told the 'Daily News' over the phone on Sunday.

The five day workshop, organised by the Voice of America (VOA) under Development and International Training, brought together about 23 journalists from the Nile Basin countries to discuss the best practices of environmental reporting, ethics and fairness.

The media training programme had been designed to familiarise journalists and editors with political, economic and environmental issues surrounding the Nile River.

It focused on the technical and scientific aspects of reporting on water resources - especially trans-boundary waters - to promote more accurate reporting throughout the Nile Basin on such issues.


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