23 October 2017

Tanzania: Plans Underway to Rescue River Nile From Threat

NILE Basin Initiative (NBI) has embarked on plans for possible Nile River water rescue following reports that the world's longest river is under serious threat.

NBI Executive Director Engineer Innocent Ntabana, said here yesterday the crisis in the river that flows northward through Lake Victoria in Tanzania and drains into the Mediterranean Sea is likely to be felt more after 2021, five years from now.

"Increasing population, pressure for energy, droughts, demand for food security and climate change are the challenges threatening the river," he said, adding: "Water will be not enough without a shared cooperation.

"He was briefing reporters ahead of the Fifth Nile Basin Development Forum (NBDF) scheduled to kick off here today.

This year's forum theme is, "Investing in Nile Cooperation for a Water Secure Future," and the Executive Director believes this year's event will provide a platform for scientists and policy makers to address the situation.

He said the forum is organised to also discuss the challenges of water scarcity around the Nile regions. "The recommendations will guide us especially after completing our ten-year strategic plan."

NBI is an intergovernmental partnership formed by Nile Basin countries of Burundi, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, but the cooperation now needs to come together to save the river that provides food, energy, livelihood and water for millions Africans.

According to Eng Ntabana, the immediate rescue to the threat by member states is to apply efficiency and sustainable water use and supply. "We need to make proper management... and action must be taken," he added.

Media reports suggest that irrigation farming compounded by water-demanding projects such as hydropower are taking a big toll on the Nile.

Technical Advisor in Rwanda's Ministry of Environment Nyirakamana Jacqueline said at least 500 delegates from within and outside member states will attend the forum at the Kigali Convention Centre.

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