Merowe Dam
The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe High Dam, Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large dam near Merowe Town
Merowe, Sudan
Merowe is a town known to hold Merowe Dam project in Northern State in Sudan some 380 km from khartoum next to Karima Town....

 in northern Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, about 350 km (217.5 mi) north of the capital Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 project in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

. It is situated on the river Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

, close to the 4th Cataract
Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths of the Nile between Aswan and Khartoum where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones protruding out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. Aswan is also the Southern boundary of Upper Egypt...

 where the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between. Merowe is a city about 40 km (24.9 mi) downstream from the construction site at Hamdab. The main purpose for building the dam was the generation of electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...


Technical details

The dam
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumped-storage hydroelectricity are...

 is designed to have a length of about 9 km (5.6 mi) and a crest height of up to 67 m (220 ft). It will consist of polystyrene-faced rockfill dams on each river bank, an earth-rock dam with a pepper core in the left river channel and a live water section in the right river channel (sluices, spillway
A spillway is a structure used to provide the controlled release of flows from a dam or levee into a downstream area, typically being the river that was dammed. In the UK they may be known as overflow channels. Spillways release floods so that the water does not overtop and damage or even destroy...

 and power intake dam with turbine housings). Once finished, it will contain a reservoir of 12.5 km³ (3 cu mi), or about 20% of the Nile's annual flow. The reservoir lake is planned to extend 174 km (108 mi) upstream.

The powerhouse will be equipped with ten Francis turbine
Francis turbine
The Francis turbine is a type of water turbine that was developed by James B. Francis in Lowell, Massachusetts. It is an inward-flow reaction turbine that combines radial and axial flow concepts....

s, each one designed for a nominal discharge rate of 300 m/s (984.3 ft/s), and each one driving a , synchronous generator
Electrical generator
In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. A generator forces electric charge to flow through an external electrical circuit. It is analogous to a water pump, which causes water to flow...

. The planners expect an annual electricity yield of 5.5 TWh
TWH or twh could refer to:*Tennessee Walking Horse, a breed of horse* Toronto Western Hospital, a hospital in Toronto, Canada* TWH Bus & Coach, a bus company in Romford, England* Terrawatt-hour, measure of electrical energy, 1012 watt-hours...

, corresponding to an average load of 625 MW, or 50% of the rated load. To utilize the extra generation capacity, the Sudanese power grid will be upgraded and extended as part of the project. It is planned to build about 500 km (310.7 mi) of new aerial transmission line across the Bayudah desert to Atbara, continuing to Omdurman
Omdurman is the second largest city in Sudan and Khartoum State, lying on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. Omdurman has a population of 2,395,159 and is the national centre of commerce...

/Khartoum, as well as about 1000 km (621.4 mi) of lines eastwards to Port Sudan
Port Sudan
Port Sudan is the capital of Red Sea State, Sudan; it has 489,725 residents . Located on the Red Sea, it is the Republic of Sudan's main port city.-History:...

 and westwards along the Nile, connecting to Merowe, Dabba and Dongola
Dongola , also spelled Dunqulah, and formerly known as Al 'Urdi, is the capital of the state of Northern in Sudan, on the banks of the Nile. It should not be confused with Old Dongola, an ancient city located 80 km upstream on the opposite bank....


Planning and construction

The idea of a Nile dam at the 4th cataract is quite old. The authorities of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan referred to the manner by which Sudan was administered between 1899 and 1956, when it was a condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom.-Union with Egypt:...

 proposed it several times during the first half of the 20th century. It was supposed to equalize the large annual Nile flow fluctuations, create the possibility of growing cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 and provide flood protection for the lower Nile valley. After Sudan achieved independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 in 1956, Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 decided to control the flow of Nile water that reached its own territory by building a dam and creating a reservoir —the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

 and Nasser Lake
Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt, and northern Sudan, and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Strictly, "Lake Nasser" refers only to the much larger portion of the lake that is in Egyptian territory , with the Sudanese preferring to call their smaller body of water...

The military government under President Nimeiri
Gaafar Nimeiry
Gaafar Muhammad an-Nimeiry was the Nubian President of Sudan from 1969 to 1985...

 revived the plan in 1979, now with the intention of producing hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 for Sudan's rising demand. The following decade saw international industry and planning offices busy, producing a total of four feasibility studies [1 - Coyne et Bellier, 1979 / Gibb, Merz & McLellan
Merz & McLellan
Merz and McLellan was a leading British electrical engineering consultancy based in Newcastle.-History:The firm was founded by Charles Merz and William McLellan in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1902 when McLellan joined Merz's existing firm established in 1899...

, GB, 1983 / Sweco, SE, 1984 / Monenco Consultants Ltd., CA, 1989]. However, insufficient funding and lack of investor interest effectively stalled the project at the planning stage.

This appears to have changed fundamentally since the country started exporting oil in commercial quantities in the years 1999/2000. A greatly improved creditworthiness brought an influx of foreign investment, and the contracts for the construction of what is now known as the Merowe Dam project were signed in 2002 and 2003.

The main contractors are:
  • China International Water&Electric Corp., China National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Corp. (construction of dam, hydromechanical works)
  • Lahmeyer International (Germany - planning, project management, civil engineering)
  • Alstom
    Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

     (France - generators, turbines)
  • Harbin Power Engineering Company, Jilin Province Transmission and Substation Project Company (both China - transmission system extension)

By the time the contracts were signed, the Merowe Dam had been the largest international project the Chinese industry ever participated in.

River diversion and work on the concrete dams began in early 2004. The project timeline schedules the reservoir impounding to start in mid-2006 and the first generating unit to go on-line in mid-2007. The work will be finished when the water level in the reservoir will have reached 300 m (984.3 ft) above MSL
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 and all ten generating units will be operational, scheduled for 2009. The dam was inaugurated on March 3, 2009.


The total project cost is reported to be
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

1.2 billion. This can be subdivided into partial amounts for the construction work on the dam itself (ca. 45%), its technical equipment (ca. 25%) and the necessary upgrade of the power transmission system (ca. 30%).
The project receives funding from
The remaining cost – approx. EUR
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 400 million – is supposed to be covered by the Sudanese government.


The electrification
Electrification originally referred to the build out of the electrical generating and distribution systems which occurred in the United States, England and other countries from the mid 1880's until around 1940 and is in progress in developing countries. This also included the change over from line...

 level in Sudan is very low, even by the standards of the region. In 2002, the average Sudanese consumed 58 kWh of electricity per year, i.e., about one fifteenth of their Egyptian neighbors to the north, and less than one hundredth of the OECD average. The capital Khartoum and a few large plantations account for more than two thirds of the country's electric power demand, while most of the rural areas are not connected to the national grid. Many villages use the option of connecting small generators to the ubiquitous diesel-powered irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 pumps. This way of generating electricity is rather inefficient and expensive.

The combined grid-connected generating capacity in Sudan was 728 MW in 2002, about 45% hydroelectricity and 55% oil-fired thermal plants. However, the effective capacity has always been a lot lower. The two main facilities, the Sennar
Sennar is a town on the Blue Nile in Sudan and capital of the state of Sennar. For several centuries it was the capital of the Funj Kingdom of Sennar. It had an estimated population of 100,000 inhabitants in the early 19th century. The modern town lies 17km SSE of the ruins of the ancient capital...

 (constructed in 1925) and Roseires (1966) dams on the Blue Nile
Blue Nile
The Blue Nile is a river originating at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile...

, were originally designed for irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 purposes rather than power production. Generating units were added during the 1960s and 1970s when the demand for electric power increased, but their power production is often heavily restricted by irrigation needs.

The government in Khartoum has announced plans to raise the country's electrification level from an estimated 30% to about 90% in the mid-term Large investments into the medium and low voltage distribution grids will be necessary but not sufficient to reach this ambitious goal: First and foremost, the foreseeable increase in power consumption would require the addition of generating capacity.
During the 1990s, Sudanese electricity customers have already been plagued by frequent blackouts and brownouts
Power outage
A power outage is a short- or long-term loss of the electric power to an area.There are many causes of power failures in an electricity network...

 due to insufficient generation. Three new thermal power plants went into operation in the Khartoum area in 2004, increasing the installed capacity to 1315 MW. The Merowe dam with its peak output of 1250 MW will almost double this capacity once it comes online.


Before the construction began, an estimated 55,000 to 70,000 people were residents of the area which will be covered by the reservoir lake, mainly belonging to the Manasir
The Manasir people constitute one of many Sunni Arab riverine tribes of Northern Sudan. They are not to be confused with the Al Manaseer of the Gulf region in the Arabian Peninsula based mainly in the United Arab Emirates. They inhabit the region of the Fourth Cataract of the Nile and call their...

, Hamadab and Amri
Amri is the site of a Pre-Harappa fortified town which flourished from 3600 to 3300 BC.The site is located south of Mohenjo Daro on Hyderabad-Dadu Road about 110 kilometres north of Hyderabad in Sindh province of Pakistan. Situated near foothills of Kirthar Range of mountains, this was an...

 tribes. They lived in small farming villages along the banks of the Nile and on the islands in the cataract. The whole region was relatively isolated, without paved roads or other infrastructure, and the communities were widely self-sufficient. Except for beans and millet
The millets are a group of small-seeded species of cereal crops or grains, widely grown around the world for food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Their essential similarities are that they are small-seeded grasses grown in difficult...

 the farmers grew vegetables, both for their own consumption and for trading at the weekly regional markets. However, their main source of income—and their most valuable possession—were the groves of date palms
Date cultivation in Dar al-Manasir
Date palms are cultivated in Sudan from the Egyptian border in the North all the way along the Nile south of Khartoum until Sennar. In addition to the banks of the Nile, isolated occurrences of cultivated date trees occur in the Red Sea Hills in the vicinity of Port Sudan, in Kassala, along the...

 growing in the fertile silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

 on the river banks.

The inhabitants of the region to be flooded were forcibly displaced along a timeline corresponding to their land’s proximity to the dam site: the people of Hamadab to Al-Multaga in 2003, the people of Amri to Wadi Muqaddam in 2007, and the Manasir to Al-Mokabrab and Al-Fidah in 2008. At the resettlement sites, the farmers received plots of land relative in size to their former possessions, in addition to financial compensation for lost assets—houses and date palm
Date Palm
The date palm is a palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around the Persian Gulf. It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with...

s. However, the majority of the farmers would prefer to stay as close to their old grounds as possible and build themselves a new existence at the shores of the new lake. Many families have defied resettlement and live now on the margins of the lake. The former farmers have become fishermen, but their income is less than before.

Though government officials claim there are improved living conditions at the resettlement areas, with relatively modern buildings and infrastructure, the affected people reject the compensation plans. Their main objections are:
  • The soil at the resettlement areas is sandy, and its quality is extremely poor, particularly if compared to the excellent farmland by the Nile. It would take much effort and a long time—probably decades—until it became fertile enough for growing vegetables and other marketable produce.
  • The government has announced that it will provide free water supply, sand removal and fertilizer
    Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

     during the first two years after the resettlement. After this period, the farmers will have to pay the full price for these services, none of which had to be used at the old site.
  • Compensation for a date palm amounts to about four years' harvest, while a good palm tree can bear fruit for a hundred years. Compensation for vegetable gardens is very low, and only married men will receive compensation for their houses.

About 6,000 people have been resettled to the Al-Multaqah site in the Nubian desert
Nubian Desert
The Nubian Desert is in the eastern region of the Sahara Desert, spanning approximately 400,000 km² of northeastern Sudan between the Nile and the Red Sea. The arid region, a largely sandstone plateau, has lots of wadis flowing towards the Nile. There is virtually no rainfall in the Nubian,...

 during 2003 and 2004. Their villages were the closest to the dam construction site near Hamdab. According to a survey conducted in early 2005, the poverty rate has shot up dramatically since, because the farmers are not able to produce anything they could sell in the local markets.


A significant fraction of the Manasir
The Manasir people constitute one of many Sunni Arab riverine tribes of Northern Sudan. They are not to be confused with the Al Manaseer of the Gulf region in the Arabian Peninsula based mainly in the United Arab Emirates. They inhabit the region of the Fourth Cataract of the Nile and call their...

 tribe inhabits the desert regions close to the Nile valley. The exact size of this nomadic population is unknown, but estimated to be of the same order of magnitude as that of the resident farmers, i.e., tens of thousands. Both groups maintain tight cultural interchanges and trade relations with each other.

Only the owners of real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 purportedly are covered under the compensation scheme, although reports are that families have been displaced without compensation or adequate provisions for relocation. Nomadic families will not receive any compensation, even though the resettlement of the farming Manasir will deprive them of their symbiotic partners
Symbiosis is close and often long-term interaction between different biological species. In 1877 Bennett used the word symbiosis to describe the mutualistic relationship in lichens...

. The consequences for their ability to sustain their lives in a harsh environment remain to be assessed.

Human rights concerns and fears of another war

United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Miloon Kothari issued a statement August 27,[2007], calling for a halt to dam construction at Merowe until an independent assessment of the dam's impacts on the more than 60,000 people who stand to be displaced by the dams at Merowe and Kajbar. Kothari stated he has "received reports that the Merowe reservoir’s water levels have already risen, destroying dozens of homes in the area and putting many more at risk."

Kothari announced, "The affected people have claimed that they received no warning that water levels would be raised and that no assistance from Government authorities has been forthcoming since their houses were destroyed." According to reports, the Government of Sudan has not honored its promises to those who have been displaced. Kothari noted that, "thousands of people in the same area were relocated in similar circumstances that left many temporarily without food or shelter, and that some of those people remain homeless today." Kothari called upon the Sudanese government to ensure safety and adequate housing to all those affected by the dams and warned the projects "would lead to large-scale forced evictions and further violence."


The fertile Nile valley has been attracting human settlement for thousands of years. The section between the 4th and 5th cataract—a significant portion of which will be inundated by the reservoir lake—has been densely populated through nearly all periods of (pre)history, but very little archaeological
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

 work has ever been conducted in this particular region. Recent surveys have confirmed the richness and diversity of traceable remains, from the Stone Age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 to the Islamic period.

Several foreign institutions have been recently or are currently involved in salvage archaeology in the region under the umbrella Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (MDASP). Among them are ACACIA project University of Cologne, Gdańsk Archaeological Museum Expedition (GAME), Polish Academy of Sciences, Humboldt University of Berlin
In 2003, the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of the Republic of Sudan launched an for rescuing the archaeological sites which are going to be inundated by the floods of the Hamdab High Dam currently under construction near Merowe in the Fourth Cataract region of northern Sudan...

, the Italian Institute for Africa and the Orient (IsIAO), the University College London, the Sudan Archaeological Research Society, the Hungarian Meroe Foundation, University of California at Santa Barbara - Arizona State University consortium, and the Oriental Institute Museum of the University of Chicago.

Their main problems are the shortness of the remaining time and limited funding. Unlike the large UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 campaign conducted in Egypt before the completion of the Aswan High Dam, when more than a thousand archaeological sites could be documented and complete buildings were moved
Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel temples refers to two massive rock temples in Abu Simbel in Nubia, southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 230 km southwest of Aswan...

 to prevent them from drowning in Lake Nasser's
Lake Nasser
Lake Nasser is a vast reservoir in southern Egypt, and northern Sudan, and is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Strictly, "Lake Nasser" refers only to the much larger portion of the lake that is in Egyptian territory , with the Sudanese preferring to call their smaller body of water...

 floods, work at the 4th cararact is much more restricted.

Since 2006, the archaeologists working for the Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project became accused by environmental and human rights activists as well as the representatives of the affected people of facilitating the political legitimatization of the project. The archaeologists working for the dam project found themselves in an ethical dilemma since they were undertaking salvage excavations while the local people were in opposition to the building of the dam that necessitates both their resettlement and the archaeological campaign.

Historian Runoko Rashidi
Runoko Rashidi
Runoko Rashidi is a writer and public lecturer based in Los Angeles. His academic focus is on "the Black foundations of world civilizations". Many of his claims are incorrect, however, as evidenced by various anthropological and DNA studies...

 issued a statement in solidarity with Sudanese Nubians protesting the dams and called for a halt to their construction.

We have never forgotten the terrible tragedy resulting from the Aswan High Dam in Egyptian Nubia. The project in Sudanese Nubia, which we call the "damn dams", will perpetuate yet another tragedy, another atrocity, against African people. Nubia is a treasure-house of artifacts that attest to the ancient greatness of Africa. For it to be inundated will cause irreparable harm to a noble heritage.

We must organize to resist this project. One of the great figures among Africans in America, Frederick Douglass, said that "power concedes nothing without demand. It never did, and it never will."


Usage rights to the waters of the Nile are fixed in the Nile Waters Treaty
Hydropolitics in the Nile Basin
The Nile River is subject to political interactions. It is the world's longest river flowing 6,700 kilometers through ten countries in northeastern Africa — Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo ,...
, negotiated by the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 in 1959. It allots 82 percent of the water volume to Egypt, while Sudan is granted the rights to the remaining 18 percent. None of the riparian countries further upstream in the Nile basin—Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

—are entitled to any significant use of the water, be it for irrigation (of particular interest to Ethiopia and Kenya) or hydropower (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda).
As Sudan now pushes forward to make use of its water allotment, those countries have begun to call for a revision of the treaty, arguing that - with the exception of Ethiopia—they had all been under colonial rule at the time the negotiations took place, and had not been represented in their best interest. Moreover, the decision of distribution of water was made without any negotiations with Ethiopia, which had rejected the agreement and is the source of 90% of the water and 96% of transported sediment of the Nile.


While a peace treaty
Second Sudanese Civil War
The Second Sudanese Civil War started in 1983, although it was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile by the end of the 1980s....

 seems to have stopped the fighting in Southern Sudan after almost 20 years, there is no end in sight yet for the civil war in the western Darfur province
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

. More recently, unrest in Nubia as a direct result of the dams and the forced permanent displacement of Nubians from their homelands threatens to erupt into war. A group calling itself the Nubian Liberation Front is threatening armed resistance in order to thwart the series of dams along the Nile, and particularly at Kajbar.


The resettlement area is a vast area with an expected 50,000–70,000 inhabitants who would be going through a transitional period for a few years before the get acclimatised & psychologically adapted to the new-life ahead. Governing by the two eminent health impact experiences of New Halfa resettlement projects and Aswan Dam in Egypt, strategic health planning ought to start early to foresee what water born diseases and other ecological health problems (such as bilharziasis, malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

) are likely to prevail and to plan how to guard against that.


The creation of the reservoir lake will increase the surface area of the Nile by about 700 km². Under the climatic conditions at the site, additional evaporation losses of up to 1,500,000,000 m³ per year can be expected. This corresponds to about 8% of the total amount of water allocated to Sudan in the Nile Waters Treaty.

See also

External links

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