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Controversy continues over Nile, Congo river projects

The recent decision of Egypt to suspend the works of a private company tasked with the project of linking the Congo River to the Nile stirred much controversy, considering the water quota this project would have provided to Egyptians.
A wooden pirogue sails at dusk on the Congo River against the backdrop of high rises in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, March 7, 2010. Picture taken March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Katrina Manson (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT CITYSCAPE) - RTR2BDRC

CAIRO — After years of controversy surrounding the topic, the Egyptian government made a final decision on Jan. 19 concerning the proposed project to link the Nile and Congo rivers, aimed at providing the country with additional water shares. The government decided to halt any studies on this topic with a private sector company in charge of implementing the project, and officially announced that the project would not be included in its water plan.

This stirred the Egyptian public opinion, especially after farming union leaders announced their support for the project. They had hoped it would alleviate their suffering from the recurrent water crises, which affect drinking water as well. Egypt’s water quota has remained at 55.5 billion cubic meters a year, and there is a crisis threatening a decrease in this amount, as the Nile headwater states are insistent on a redistribution of the river’s water quotas. This is in addition to the threats posed by the new Ethiopian dams, especially the Renaissance Dam, which is expected to deprive Egypt of a large part of its water share when the first stage is completed in 2015.

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