Posted Thursday, February 23 2012 at 00:00
As Uganda joined the rest of the Nile riparian countries to commemorate the Regional Nile Water Day yesterday, the directorate of water said it will not be long before the other member states agree to equal sharing of the Nile waters.
Six of the nine riparian countries Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Uganda have already signed a cooperative framework that gives equal opportunity to the usage of the Nile.
Egypt, DRC, Sudan and South Sudan have since kept silent about the issue, preferring to take the lion’s share of the water given to them 80 years ago, under the British rule.
Yesterday, however, the director of the Directorate of Natural Resources Management at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr Mugisha-Shillingi, said it is a matter of time before the remaining countries bow to their demands.
“The other countries have to recognise that we need the water as much as they do, and at the end of the day it will have to come down to regional cooperation,” Mr Shillingi said.
“But for now nobody has stopped us from using the water, we have dams and will soon start irrigation schemes,” he said. The rights were given to Egypt (55b cubic metres) and Sudan (18b cubic metres) with an assumption that the other six countries can get water through other sources.
The Regional Nile Water Day is celebrated in commemoration of the formation of the Nile Basin Initiative in 1999, to facilitated cooperation in sharing of the Nile waters.