Egypt, Sudan discuss means to develop joint technical authority for Nile water

Ahram Online , Saturday 21 Jan 2023

Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hani Sweilam discussed with his newly-appointed Sudanese counterpart means to develop the work of permanent Egyptian-Sudanese Technical Authority for Nile water -- one of the oldest mechanisms of cooperation between the two countries.

Egypt, Sudan
Egypt's Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hani Sweilam (L) during a meeting with his Sudnese counterpart Daw Albait Abdulrahman in Sudan on Saturday 21 January 2023 (Photo Courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources)


Sweilam, who arrived in Khartoum on Saturday, is visiting Sudan for the first time since his appointment in August. The Egyptian minister and his Sudanese counterpart Daw Al-Bait Abdul-Rahman toured the headquarters of the authority.

Through the authority, which resumed its meetings in October after a four-year hiatus, data of measurement stations in Egypt and Sudan are exchanged in a way that helps the governments of both countries to manage the Nile water resource effectively, according to a statement by Egyptian irrigation ministry.

The permanent Egyptian-Sudanese Technical Authority for Nile water has been working efficiently since its establishment in 1960, based on the 1959 Nile Water Agreement between Egypt and Sudan, said Egyptian irrigation minister.

The authority, he added, is specialised in conducting research and studies to optimise the management of the Nile water resource. It also ensures integrated coordination and cooperation in exchanging data and measurements to assist in the hydrological studies of the Nile.

The Sudanese irrigation minister, who was appointed on Thursday as part of a new transitional government, said he hoped to discuss all issues of mutual interest with his Egyptian counterpart. He emphasised the necessity of "sincere cooperation with the Nile Basin countries."

He also stressed the necessity of attaching importance to South Sudan, especially when it comes to dealing with floods and ways of prevention, the statement added.

Both downstream nations, Egypt and Sudan, have been engaging in negotiations with upstream Ethiopia for almost a decade now to reach a legally binding and comprehensive agreement on the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Reinassance Dam (GERD), which Addis Ababa started building on the Blue Nile in 2010.

Egypt — which relies mainly on the Nile for its water needs — fears that the unilateral operation of the GERD and the filling of its 74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir will negatively impact its water supply, while Sudan is concerned that the GERD will harm the regulation of flows to its own dams and their safety.

Meanwhile, both irrigation ministers also toured the forecast centre that is currently under construction in coordination between the two countries executive bodies. The centre will include a unified hydrological database and a model for forecasting the Nile’s revenues, the statement added.



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