In the Nile Basin, physical water scarcity is associated with high demographic growth and a sharply rising demand for competing water uses such as hydropower and large scale irrigation. While rapid economic growth is perceived as a necessity to emerge from the poverty trap that afflicts livelihoods in the Upper Basin, vital wetland ecosystem services such as fish biomass, freshwater biodiversity, river connectivity, groundwater recharge, flow regulation and local climate moderation are threatened by water development schemes and pollution, whose cumulative impacts remain unaddressed. The High Aswan Dam’s impacts on freshwater biodiversity remain incompletely understood; a significant number of species may have become threatened as a result of its construction. Today the reservoir possibly hosts 47 fish species, its water quality is high and local human activities are restricted by central government regulations. Current estimates indicate that eutrophication threats are unlikely. Sediment and nutrient inputs coming from the Nile river will continue decreasing in the near future as a result of newly built and planned dams in the upper basin. New dams will reduce discharge, sediment and nutrient loading, and cause further loss of connectivity between the river and its floodplain; this will add to the impact of the possible completion of the Jonglei Canal bypassing the Sudd swamps. Under the current geopolitical scenario, management decisions that could favour participated and sustainable options are superseded by high level political negotiations between the numerous riparian states. The presence of resourceful Chinese investors with no strings attached and vested interests in water resources development is unlikely to favour sustainable resource management and conflict resolution.

Water-quality management in a vulnerable large river: the Nile in Egypt

PACINI, NICOLA
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2013

Abstract

In the Nile Basin, physical water scarcity is associated with high demographic growth and a sharply rising demand for competing water uses such as hydropower and large scale irrigation. While rapid economic growth is perceived as a necessity to emerge from the poverty trap that afflicts livelihoods in the Upper Basin, vital wetland ecosystem services such as fish biomass, freshwater biodiversity, river connectivity, groundwater recharge, flow regulation and local climate moderation are threatened by water development schemes and pollution, whose cumulative impacts remain unaddressed. The High Aswan Dam’s impacts on freshwater biodiversity remain incompletely understood; a significant number of species may have become threatened as a result of its construction. Today the reservoir possibly hosts 47 fish species, its water quality is high and local human activities are restricted by central government regulations. Current estimates indicate that eutrophication threats are unlikely. Sediment and nutrient inputs coming from the Nile river will continue decreasing in the near future as a result of newly built and planned dams in the upper basin. New dams will reduce discharge, sediment and nutrient loading, and cause further loss of connectivity between the river and its floodplain; this will add to the impact of the possible completion of the Jonglei Canal bypassing the Sudd swamps. Under the current geopolitical scenario, management decisions that could favour participated and sustainable options are superseded by high level political negotiations between the numerous riparian states. The presence of resourceful Chinese investors with no strings attached and vested interests in water resources development is unlikely to favour sustainable resource management and conflict resolution.
Biodiversity
Dams
Wetlands
Ecosystem Services
Connectivity
Integrated River Basin Management
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/134082
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