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The Future of the Nile Basin

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Climate projections suggest that, by the end of the century, the amount of rain in the Upper Nile basin could increase by up to 20%. But a new paper shows that, despite more rainfall, devastating hot and dry spells are projected to become more frequent in the Upper Nile basin. These conditions will occur simultaneously with the region’s rapid population growth, anticipated to double by the middle of this century. This will increase water stress in the region, irrespective of the modest rainfall increases. Cooperative water-sharing institutions within the basin could help avert contentious situations. For instance, Ethiopia is currently constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River. Without strong regional institutions to provide political and legal assurances of fair Nile water use, the dam’s construction is provoking worries in Egypt, as it would likely reduce irrigation water availability for the country’s agriculture.


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