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Govt invites veteran environmental expert to lecture on Nile water saga

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Professor Jim Hall of Oxford University gives a keynote presentation on Flood Risk Analysis and Investment Planning. | July 2015 |Courtesy: Jim Hall Youtube Channel.

The office of the president has invited a prominent British environmental risk expert to participate in discussions on the Nile waters issue, in Juba next month.

Professor Jim Hall, who teaches at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom is expected to give lectures between 10-14 July of July 2022.

According to the letter dated 2ND June 2022, the Minister of Presidential affairs invited Professor Jim Hall to give scientific analysis that may help the government and the public understand how best the Nile waters can be managed.

The press secretary in the office of president Ateny Wek Ateny said the discussion will provide public awareness through a series of discussions with various stakeholders.

Ateny Wek told Eye Radio the government want to know the ecological impact of the Nile Water on the clearance and digging of the canal.

“The government wanted to know exactly the impact of Nile water, particularly the clearance of the Nile, the digging of the canal, and the ecological impact to South Sudan,” Ateny said.

Ateny who seemed annoyed with ‘some malicious persons’ who leaked out the document confirmed that the government has taken the decision in order to give an informed verdict on the controversial Nile water management saga.

“First of all, the letter wasn’t meant for the public at its stage it was meant for Jim Hall, but since some malicious person went and leaked it to the public I want to confirm that the letter was written by the minister of presidential affairs,

“And again the background is that The government of South Sudan want to understand from the study of those who are experts of water resources so that the government can give the approval or deny the approval,” said President Kiir’s aid.

The invitation came amidst an ongoing plan to widen the flow of some tributaries of the Nile in order to release flood waters downstream to Sudan and Egypt.

The planned dredging on Unity State’s Naam river and Bahr El Ghazal basins is now in doubts after it was subjected into controversies and skepticism by the general public.

Environmentalists and activists have cautioned the government against the decision, citing possible long-term environmental impacts, should it go ahead to clean some tributaries of the River Nile without feasibility studies.

Jim Hall is a Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks and former Director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.

He is director of research at the School of Geography and the Environment, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Engineering Science and Fellow of Linacre College.

Hall is also a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and is chair of the Science and Advisory Committee of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

After independence, South Sudan started to demand a share of the annual 18.5 BCM of Nile waters allocated to Sudan under the 1959 water agreement.

At first glance, Sudan should be able to accommodate these demands. As noted above, in the past, the country’s water use amounted to no more than 14-15 BCM per year.

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