Khartoum — Sudan is in mourning, paying its heartfelt respects to distinguished water and hydrology engineer Yahya Abdelmageed who passed away Monday aged 95.
Engineer Abdelmajeed had always been an inexhaustible source of pride for all the members of the Sudanese engineering community due to his great achievements, his high morality and amiable personality.
The late Abdelmajeed, together with his fellow water engineer the late Sighairoon Alzain Sighairoon, are believed to have been the first Africans to obtain post-graduate degrees in hydrological research from the prestigious London University.
In addition, Engineer Abdelmajeed had obtained the fellowship degree in civil engineering from the United Kingdom.
He is also remembered to have been the only African engineer to have taken part in the symposium that worked out the guiding lines for the law governing the relations among countries that share the same rivers, convened in New York in 1968.
It was from the outcome of this symposium that there crystallized the Convention on the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses in 1997.
In 1974 Engineer Abdelmajeed was named by the League of Arab Countries to head and arbitrate the dispute among Syria, Turkey and Iraq over the Euphrates River waters.
In 1976, and following a fierce competition with leading World water experts, Engineer Abdelmajeed was selected assistant for the UN General Secretary to oversee preparations for the first and biggest World conference on water.
He undertook that mission, prepared and managed the conference in an excellent way that won him the acclaim of the participants of the conference, held in Argentina in 1977.
At the national level, Engineer Abdelmajeed had served as Irrigation and Water Resources Minister during 1972-1982.
Beside his water research activity in the Ministry of Water Recourses and Irrigation, he also oversaw the construction of the gates of the Managil Water Canal that draws irrigation waters from the Sinnar Dam, so far the country's major irrigation facility.
He also supervised the works of the joint permanent technical authority on Nile waters that brings together the two Nile riparian countries, Sudan and Egypt. He also became rapporteuer and chairman of the authority.
Engineer Abdelmajeed had also supervised the plan for the exploitation of Sudan's share of the Nile waters, setting investment programs and priorities
in this bid, that included the construction of dams and other irrigation projects.
He had also supervised all the works concerning the proposed Jongoli Canal project, designed to collect and streamline water from the swampy Sudd Region in Southern Sudan into the White Nile. The plan also caters for the Canal's accompanying economic and social projects.
He also took the initiative of the plan for cooperation among the Nile Basin countries in the project for Equatorial Lakes initiated in 1967. Cooperation among the member states of this project is still in progress.
During the last three decades Abdelmajeed had nurtured the think-tank group that conducted project studies and designs at the national and regional levels.