Mudavadi calls for equitable sharing of Nile Basin resources
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has called on the 10-member Nile Basin States to embrace an equitable sharing of resources for a win-win utilization of the Nile River and Nile Basin water resources.
While marking milestones gained through the cooperation built amongst member states since the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in February 1999, Mudavadi said member states will avoid conflicts by navigating the socio-political and economic difficulties within the Nile Basin Region via mutual cooperation and understanding for all members to reap maximum benefits through Nile Basin Initiative.
Speaking at the 17th Nile Day Celebrations in Nairobi, the Prime cabinet secretary said the increasing demands for the water resource must be mitigated because the resource is not elastic, hence the need to share the increasing scarcity of Nile water equitably among the Nile Basin countries.
“Kenya calls for the integration of political good will with economic and social institutions to achieve equitable utilization. This will minimize potential risks of conflicts in the process of securing sustainability of water resources due to the increasing population and user demands within the Nile Basin.” said Mudavadi.
Mudavadi who represented President William Ruto at the event, noted that the Nile Valley has been a center of civilization for over the years during which it has been at the center of technological advancement and cultural diversity.
He further cautioned that the Nile Basin still remains a water-scarce region. He attributed the scarcity to over 80 per cent of river flow that originates from a small part of the basin now prone to regular climate extremes.
“The Nile Water resource is central to the socio-economic livelihoods of the people of the Nile Basin countries. The livelihoods include water for domestic, livestock, irrigation, Hydropower, industries, wildlife, recreation and environmental concerns. And now populations and economies are growing fast; urbanization is increasing resulting in increased water demand and declining per capita water availability,” said Mudavadi.
Mudavadi also pointed out that whilst member states should celebrate the benefits, there are risks that come with the need to protect and conserve the River Nile and the Nile Basin Water Catchment areas. He said caution should be taken on the increasing environmental degradation that compromises water quality and ecosystem loss.
“It bears reminding ourselves that Nile Basin countries are experiencing the devastating effect of climate change. Climate change is being felt on use of transboundary water across the African continent. Climate change is causing more droughts than initially anticipated. Conflict by competing user rights threaten not only internal stability of nations, but have also the potential of affecting relations between nations,” added Mudavadi.
The prolonged droughts in the country have endangered human and animal life With scarce or no source of water, human and animal food, the situation has escalated into inter-communal conflicts, with urban areas neither spared from the brutal drought that has led to water rationing.
“Receding water levels due to high evaporation and excess withdrawal are exposing water storage infrastructure such as dams and aquifers to vandalism. This has reminded us to revisit copping measures such as adequate harvesting of the flood waters during increasingly sparse rainy seasons,” said Mudavadi.
“To avert environmental degradations and enhance water availability, we are called upon to develop catchment management plans. In Kenya, such plans for sustainable management and development of water resources are at the implementation stage and will benefit the region,” He added.
The prime Cabinet secretary noted that although there is low access to electricity in the Nile Basin compared to other developing countries, he noted that there is still hope.
“With electricity supply in most Nile countries remaining inadequate, unreliable and expensive, there is still great transformative potential if a common understanding can be reached between member states to work towards turning the negatives into positives,” he reiterated.
“We are united by the Nile; the Nile Basin has a great transformation potential for socio-economic development and human prosperity. Let us protect it from despair,” He added.