Water Resources and Inter-Riparian Relations in the Nile Basin

The Search for an Integrative Discourse

By Okbazghi Yohannes

Subjects: African Studies, Comparative Politics, Environmental Politics
Series: SUNY series in Global Politics
Paperback : 9780791474327, 268 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791474310, 268 pages, June 2008

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Table of contents


1.  Toward A Provisional Understanding
Framing the Challenges
The Political Challenge
The Demographic Challenge
The Economic Challenge
The Hydrological and Ecological Challenge
Urbanization, Pollution, and the Challenge of Clean Water
The Governance Challenge
The Neoliberalist Challenge
2. Egypt: Gift of the Nile
The Elusive Quest for Food Security and the Modernization Imperatives
After Modernization
The Puzzle
3.  The Sudan: A Hydrographic Bridge?
The Beginnings
An Arab “Breadbasket”?
The Politics of Internal Governance
The Sudd and the Jonglei Canal: Twin Crimes Against Nature and Society
The Puzzle
4. Ethiopia: Land of the “Blue Gold”
The Hydrological Context
The Elusive Quest for Food Security and the Modernization
The Politics of Internal Governance
The Eritrean Dimension of the Nile Waters
The Puzzle
5.  The Middle Nile “Squatters”: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

The Historical Context
The Elusive Quest for Food Security and the Modernization
Aquatic Resources and the Search for More Food Security
The Puzzle
6. The Uppermost Riparian States: Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
Problematizing Watershed Integrity
The Ethnography of Hydrology and Food Security
The Puzzle
7.  Thinking about the Future
Toward an Integrative Epistemology and Regional Authenticity
Toward a Nile Family of Nations
Toward Holistic Economies
Toward a Politics of Collective Self-Reliance

Argues for new water policies in the Nile River Basin.


Human demand for water resources is rising at an alarming rate in response to rapid population growth, rival development requirements, and the depletion of ecological resources. In this book, Okbazghi Yohannes examines the various facets of the competition for water resources among the ten Nile River Basin countries as they compete to harness the river's resources for purposes of irrigation-based agriculture and hydropower-based industrialization. Through a careful investigation of the rival states' strategies to capture greater shares of water resources, Yohannes assesses the lasting impact on the watershed ecology in the basin and on the hydrological demand of the river itself. He proposes the formation of a radically different water regime to address the looming demographic crisis, the stark regional food insecurity, and the region's collapsing hydro-ecology. This book shows how the effort to construct a regional water regime cannot be separated from the necessity to construct an ecologically sustainable internal water regime in each co-basin state, particularly in terms of ecological resources conservation and ecosystem services protection.

Okbazghi Yohannes is Professor of International Studies at the University of Louisville and the author of several books, including Political Economy of an Authoritarian Modern State and Religious Nationalism in Egypt and (with Kidane Mengisteab) Anatomy of an African Tragedy: Political, Economic, and Foreign Policy Crisis in Post-Independence Eritrea.


"The author sounds the alarm of the coming dangers, warning all concerned and especially the leaders of the relevant countries, urging them to rethink their national focus in favor of collective strategies from which all can benefit as well as avoid, or at least mitigate, further disasters. " — Bereket Habte Selassie, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill