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HTML Document EMWIS Flash N°57, March 2008

Released 31/03/2008

EMWIS Flash - March 2008
Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water Sector
EMWIS is a program of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.
For further information:
Monthly Flash produced by the EMWIS Technical Unit-
OIEAU, CEDEX, SOGESID- with the support of the E.C.
It is available in English, French & Arabic.

In this issue N°57 (
1- Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on water, Amman, October 29, 2008
2- 2nd MEDA Water Regional Event on Local Water Management
3- The First African Water Week (AWW-1)
4- EU approves the Union for the Mediterranean proposal
5- EC proposes to improve and streamline the European Enviromental Information System
6- Euro-Med Ministers decide on improving cooperation in the Information Society

7- World Water Day: Water will be source of war unless world acts now
8- World Water Day: Launching of the Istanbul Urban Water Consensus
9- World Water Day: Palestine
10- Tunisia: Making progress in sanitation and water resources management
11- Tunisia: German development cooperation focuses on environmental protection
12- Morocco: Programme for water resources preservation in the Souss-Massa
13- Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia to develop drought-resistant barley
14- EU-Egypt to sign €558 million assistance package
15- Egypt: Scientists uncertain about climate change impact on Nile
16- Jordan: Water rationing strategy to combat shortages
17- Jordan: Difficult decision regarding increasing water prices
18- Jordan to launch a tender for desalination plant in Aqaba
19- Jordan: Sewage network crumbling in city of Zarqa
20- Lebanon: ICRC completes primary water supply to ruined refugee camp
21- Israel: Preparation to face a severe water shortage
Cyprus: Facing water disruptions
23- Drought: Barcelona to import water with tankers from Marseille

24- Launch of the Global Sanitation Fund
25- Environmental cartography in real-time
26- Solar Power to Produce Drinking Water

1- Following the proposal of the last conference of the water directors of the Euro-Mediterranean and Southeastern European countries, Bled (Slovenia), in December 2007, a Euromed Ministerial Conference on water will be organised in Jordan the 29 October 2008 under the French Presidency of the European Union and the Euro Mediterranean Partnership. It will aim to prepare a long-term strategy on water in the region. In order to involve all stakeholders, a day dedicated to civil society will be held on the eve of the ministerial conference.
Further information on EMWIS website.

IN BRIEF (Full news)

2- The 2nd MEDA Water Regional Event on Local Water Management placed under the High Patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, will be held in Marrakech (Morocco), from 28 to 30 April 2008. This Second Event will be composed by the: 2nd MEDA Water Partners Workshop (28 and 29 April 2008) and 2nd MEDA Water Event (30 April 2008). It aimes to: optimize the impact of the MEDA Water Projects results, discuss the MEDA Water Projects results and the need and possibilities for the continuation of similar initiatives in the future, in coherence with EU Water Initiative (Horizon 2020 and ENPI); and give the opportunity for the local and regional practitioners working in the field of local water management to participate actively. Further information on EMWIS website.

3- The First African Water Week (AWW-1), convened under the theme of ‘Accelerating Water Security for the Socio Economic Development of Africa’, took place from 26-28 March 2008 in Tunis, Tunisia. The meeting’s three objectives were to provide a forum for key actors in Africa’s water sector to discuss the opportunities and challenges of achieving water security for Africa’s socioeconomic development, take stock of the status of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and related targets on water in Africa, and make recommendations for consideration by the 2008 African Union (AU) and G8 summits, and the 2009 Fifth World Water Forum (WWF-5). Over 540 participants, including 30 ministers, met in plenary and several parallel working groups to deliberate on a diversity of topics ranging from policy and practical constraints, to social, economic and cultural constraints, and institutional and financial matters. Participants agreed on two key outputs. The ‘Summary of Proceedings and Outcomes’, which highlights the issues and recommendations made in plenary and working groups, and the ‘Ministerial Declaration on Accelerating Water Security for Africa’s Socioeconomic Development’ that reflects the specific commitments that ministers’ would act on. In addition, WWF-5 launched its regional preparatory process. Further information on EMWIS website.

4- EU leaders approved the French proposal on a Union for the Mediterranean aiming at strengthening cooperation with countries from Morocco to Turkey. EU decision was formally taken to transform the Barcelona Process into a Union for the Mediterranean. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel informed the other EU leaders of their proposal for a 'Union for the Mediterranean', designed to upgrade the existing Barcelona Process and to include all the EU Member States and the non-EU Mediterranean coastal states. Launched in 1995 as a framework for political, economic and social ties, the Barcelona Process has regularly been thwarted in its aims by local conflicts. Further information on EMWIS website. On the other hand, the 4th Plenary of the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) has also welcomed the proposal for a Union for the Mediterranean in its meeting on 27-28 March in Athens (Greece). Further information on EMWIS website.

5- The European Commission proposes to improve, modernise and streamline the present environmental information systems by establishing a European Shared Environment Information System -SEIS-. The objective of this system is to tie better together all existing data gathering and information flows using modern tools such as the internet and satellite technology. The objective is also to move away from paper based reporting and reports to a system where data is made available to the users at source in an open and transparent way. A detailed implementation plan for SEIS will be built since this year on efforts already being undertaken in Europe to create integrated information systems. These include the Water Information System for Europe (WISE) and the European environment information and observation network (EIONET), the 2007 INSPIRE Directive on access and interoperability of spatial data, and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative on Earth monitoring data from satellites. EU financial support to complement the national and regional budgets to implement SEIS will come from the Research Framework Programmes, LIFE, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and the Structural Funds. Further information on EMWIS website.

6- Decisions that will further enhance cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean Partner Countries were taken at the second Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on the Information Society, entitled “Building an Enabling Environment for the EUROMED Information Society”, held in Cairo (Egypt) in 27 February 2008. During the meeting, the ministers decided that a Work Programme with specific initiatives and projects will be prepared and a mapping exercise carried out. According to a Declaration agreed, the ministers encouraged the process of approximation of the regulatory frameworks of the Mediterranean Partners and the EU and highlighted the accomplishments of bilateral and regional projects aiming at regulatory reform of the electronic communications sector and at improved networking between the information technology and research communities. Further information on EMWIS website.

7- The world faces a future of "water wars", unless action is taken to prevent international water shortages and sanitation issues escalating into conflicts, according to Gareth Thomas, the UK International Development minister. The minister's warning came as a coalition of 27 international charities marked World Water Day, by writing to the UK government demanding a global effort to give fresh water to 1.1 billion people with poor supplies and to supply sanitation to a further 2.6 billion people. It said international action was needed to prevent competition for water destabilising communities and escalating into conflicts. Further information on EMWIS website.

8- The prominent event of the World Water Day in Istanbul was the launch of the Istanbul Urban Water Consensus by the Mayor of Istanbul in presence of 38 delegations of cities from all over the world. The Mayor launched an appeal to the leaders of cities around the world for better management of their water resources and for facilitating access to water and sanitation for all citizens. "As mayors," he stated, "we love our citizens and are ready to do our best to provide them with these basic services as a contribution to the Milleniumm Development Goals." The Istanbul Water Consensus contains a series of commitments to improve urban water management. The document has been released in draft version for comments. After being finalised in October 2008, it should be ready for signature by cities all around the world. Further information on EMWIS website.

9- The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) which is EMWIS National Focal point in Palestine celebrated in cooperation with UNICEF and UNDP the World Water Day by organizing an official ceremony in the 26th of March 2008, inviting all donor agencies and states representatives in Palestine to give a brief official statements focusing on their contribution and commitments to achieve agenda 21 goals, with a special focus on sanitation.  PWA called the international donors, water programs and NGOs to focus on the impact of their efforts and contribution to alleviate the burden over national authorities to achieve MDGs goals. Further information on EMWIS website.

10- Tunisia has, today, nothing to envy from the developed countries and is at the forefront in terms of sanitation and water resources management, in comparison with other developing countries or emerging said in Tunis, Mr. Nadhir Hamada, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, at a press briefing held on the occasion of the celebration of the World Water Day. The minister showed journalists the major results achieved by Tunisia, including the rate of access to safe drinking water (99.1% in urban areas and 42.4% in rural areas) and Connection to sanitation services (87.5%)  in 2007. He said that Tunisia is even approached by several African countries (Mauritania, Algeria, Mali and others) for its expertise, particularly in the area of sanitation and waste management. Further information on EMWIS website.

11- Along with France and Italy, Germany is one of Tunisia's major bilateral development partners. German-Tunisian development cooperation focuses on environmental protection (wastewater treatment, refuse disposal and recycling, renewable energy and water management) as well as on modernizing the Tunisian economy. Additional nilateral relations could focus in the field of environment and the means to promote them in the sectors related to renewable energy and operation of wastewater especially. Further information on EMWIS website.

12- The Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries organized on January 15 a meeting in Agadir on the preservation of water resources in Souss-Massa Basin. As rainfalls of the past few years have been lower to the normal average,  a call for research processes to supply water for aquifers has been launched and subsidies are provided for water saving irrigation projects. Further information on EMWIS website.

13- Agricultural researchers in Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia have teamed up to create drought-resistant and salt-tolerant varieties of barley better suited to the North African region. The project, funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre and overseen by the New Partnership for Africa's Development North Africa Biosciences Network, will see thirty scientists from five organisations spending the next two years developing the barley varieties. Barley is traditionally used as animal feed in much of North Africa, but lack of alternative food sources is leading to human consumption. Further information on EMWIS website.

14- EU Commissioner for External Relations and the ENP, and Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation, signed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the National Indicative Programme 2007-2010, last 7th March. The focus of the €558 million assistance package is to support the reform process and the implementation of the EU-Egypt ENP Action Plan, adopted by the EU-Egypt Association Council last year. As far as water sector is concerned, the Improved Water and Waste Water Services Programme (IWSP) with an EC contribution of €29 million is an investment programme that will improve the quantity, quality and efficiency of the water supply and particularly wastewater services for four million people in four governorates. Further information on EMWIS website.

15- Specialists say Egypt is already facing massive water management challenges due to demographic pressures and rising demand for water and electricity, but it is not clear how climate change will affect future Nile flows, and the key vulnerabilities have yet to be assessed. The country is, extremely vulnerable to any adverse climate change impacts on water availability in the coastal zones and the Nile. The UN Development Programme (UNDP), together with the National Water Research Centre and Egypt’s Ministry of Water and Irrigation, have developed a Decision Support software for Water Resources, which can produce various climate change scenarios for the Nile basin and therefore improve water resource planning and management. Options proposed include the improvement of rain-harvesting techniques, increasing the extraction of ground water, recycling water, water desalination, and improving accessibility of water reserves. Further information on EMWIS website.

16- The Jordanian government has put in place an emergency strategy to deal with a severe water shortage to meet rising demand among its 5.7 million population and hundreds of thousands of refugees. A plan will be implemented to reduce the amount of water delivered to households: Water would be rationed with each house getting it once or twice a week, for three to five hours at a time. The amount of water delivered to farmers for irrigation would be reduced by at least 50 percent and only crops that do not require much water will be allowed according to the Ministry of Water.  Jordan recently announced several large projects to tackle the chronic water shortage; including the US$2-4 billion Red-Dead Canal project, which seeks to provide 850 mcm of potable water. per year. The government also signed an agreement with Turkish company Gama last summer to pump water from the southern aquifer of Disi at a cost of $600 million. The project, which is expected to be ready by 2020, will provide Amman and the southern governorates with some 170 mcm of water per year. Further information on EMWIS website.

17- The Jordanian Minister of Water and Irrigation said that the rise of electricity prices is one of the factors that will affect water tariffs. The decision to raise water prices is difficult. The Government cannot afford to continue to subsidize the water sector. Salary increases for approximately 3000 employees at the Ministry is another major factor contributing to a likely increase in water prices. The Minister assured people that the majority of water users (74%) will not be significantly affected. The costs of water supply and sanitation is exceeding 1.10 JD, while the Ministry receives back around 0.5 JD. The last modification to water prices occurred in mid-2005 and was implemented in the first quarter of the 2006. Further information on EMWIS website.

18- Officials in Aqaba (Jordan) special economic zone are expected to launch an international tender for the construction of a water desalination plan. The project, the first of its kind in Jordan, will be designed to supply the port city with enough potable water to be used for tourism projects as well as industry use. The need for this project increased after the city was turned to a special economic zone, leading to high demand on water. The city is currently relying on a pipeline coming from Disi aquifer, 65 km north to meet its needs. Further information on EMWIS website.

19- A crumbling sewage system in the city of Zarqa, 30km east of Amman, could trigger the spread of diseases on a large scale, according to community leaders and residents. Officials at the Ministry of Water said a plan had been drawn up to replace the entire network by 2012 at a cost of US$275 million. The government has started implementing a project to renew the sewage network in the city. Currently a US$5 million renovation project is near completion. The government also has a "hydraulic analysis" project designed to uncover leaks. Water experts say chronic water shortages and current policy to ration water are putting pressure on the sanitation system in general. Further information on EMWIS website.

20- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has completed rebuilding the primary water supply network in currently accessible areas of the ruined Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, north Lebanon. The US$300,000 four-month ICRC project laid down 2,700 new sections of pipes and provided two generators to power water pumps for four wells and three reservoirs, one of which was repaired, that will serve the camp's total population of up to 40,000 people. Launching a reconstruction plan last month, UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) and the Lebanese government said that rebuilding the old camp should be completed by August 2010 and put the cost at US$173 million. Further information on EMWIS website.

21- Israel expects a severe water shortage and is considering serious steps restrictions on household consumption. The rains this winter were only 50 to 60% of normal annual average quantities and water supplies have reached their lowest level in ten years, according to official figures. A series of four particularly dry winters has meant that Tiberias Lake (north), the main reservoir of fresh water for Israel, reached its lowest level in 46 years. The reserves of the aquifer, including those that Israel shares with the Palestinians in the West Bank, are also very low, which has a negative impact on their quality.  Further information on EMWIS website.

22- The population of Cyprus, an island which is experiencing a severe drought, risks to suffer water disruptions during the coming weeks while reserves are at their lowest and that the government has recently decided to reduce by one third the local supply services. The winter rainfall, already in deficit last year, have not reached half of their normal level, while significant rains are almost non-existent from May to October. Further information on EMWIS website.

23- The second Spanish city, Barcelona, will deliver water by vessels from Marseilles (southern France), and Tarragona (north-eastern Spain), because of the drought, said recently the Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia. A spokesman for the regional government of Catalonia, the authority administering this case, has "neither confirmed nor denied" the information. The Catalan regional government had indicated in January that it was considering seriously to import water with tankers from France in case of drought persistence. Further information on EMWIS website.

24- The Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is launching the Global Sanitation Fund. The Global Sanitation Fund is a newly created programme part of WSSCC. Its main goal is to boost sanitation expenditures for people-centred, community-managed and demand-driven work programmes, thus contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target by 2015. The Global Sanitation Fund is the first global mechanism for financing sanitation and its launch is one of the major initiatives of the International Year of Sanitation 2008. Further information on EMWIS website.

25- EOLAB (The Earth Observation Laboratory) is a spin-off from the University of Valencia (Spain) with a wide experience in remote sensing techniques. EOLAB fills the existing gap between science and society, favouring de development of applications derived from remote sensing, as well as the access to that kind of information. EOLAB provides global and local services. They can provide environmental cartography in real-time. The information that can be extracted from the region of interest is composed, among others, by fractional vegetation cover, evapotranspiration and water deficit of irrigation crops. The information currently available is obtained from Landsat TM5 data, at a spatial resolution of 30 meters, but other spatial resolutions (MODIS) will be available soon. Further information on EMWIS website.

26- Clean water with free energy is the goal of German scientists who are using the sun's rays to power small water treatment plants for developing countries. The system is designed for arid areas where a lack of electricity makes it impossible to use large industrial plants for the desalination of seawater, like those in the Middle East. Further information on EMWIS website.


27- "Virtual Water" Innovator Awarded 2008 Stockholm Water Prize: Professor John Anthony Allan from King's College London and the School of Oriental and African Studies pioneered the development of key concepts in the understanding and communication of water issues and how they are linked to agriculture, climate change, economics and politics. The USD 150,000 Stockholm Water Prize will be presented August 21 in the Stockholm City Hall. Further information on EMWIS website

28- There will be 4 vacant positions after the next GWP Steering Committe meeting (spring of 2008). Nominated candidates should be committed to the promotion of sustainable IWRM, should be able to contribute towards the development of GWP, operate at high level and have contacts at most senior national, regional or international levels.  Nominations are requested before 16 April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

29- "Trophee des Femmes" Prize for Living Lakes: Marion Hammerl, President of the Global Nature Fund, is winner of the prestigious international “Trophée de Femmes Prize” of the Yves Rocher Foundation in Paris: she was awarded the international environmental prize for her commitment to the protection of lakes and wetlands worldwide. Further information on EMWIS website

30- Lecturer in Management and Organization of Sanitation, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, based in Delft, The Netherlands. Candidates must have an academic backgrounds and a proven interest in and experience with the management and organisation of piped and non-piped wastewater and sanitation systems by State and Non-State providers. Application deadline: 09 May 2008. Further information on EMWIS website


31- Jaspers Water Engineer, Bulgaria, JASPERS (EC/EBRD/EIB): This post will be located in Bucharest, Regional External Office for JASPERS, responsible for JASPERS in Romania and Bulgaria. JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) is a tri-lateral partnership between the European Commission (DG Regional Policy), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank. A minimum of seven years experience will be required and preference will be given to those with experience in developing large projects in the water sector, experience in the beneficiary countries and experience with EU policies and procedures concerning large projects. Application deadline: 13 April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

32- The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is looking for an Economic Affairs Officer (Water), P-4, to work in UN-ESCWA, Beirut (Lebanon). His/her responsibilities will be related to water resources and environmental management. Application deadline: 20 April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

33- The MESO database of experts is now available online and you may register if you wish to appear on this platform. The MESO program aims at promoting and transmitting the economic-environmental analysis in Maghreb and Mashreq countries. In order to fulfill this aim, Ecosys and sba are now currently developing university postgraduate training in environmental economics in Maghreb and Mashreq countries. The meso-expert database completes the setting by listing the persons that are able to realize, help to realize, interpret and update meso-economic analyses. Further information on EMWIS website

34- The Swiss Mountain Water Award is an innovation competition for water-related projects, which has been held four times so far. It rewards water-related projects which provide a sustainable contribution to added value in the Swiss mountains. The deadline for submitting innovative projects is 15 April 2008. The total value of the prizes is 60,000 Swiss francs. Further information on EMWIS website.

35- SwissRe invites applications for the International ReSource Award for Sustainable Watershed Management 2009: The Award worth USD 150 000 is an internationally recognized prize for leadership in implementing the principles of sustainability in watershed management, and is granted to one or several projects selected by an international jury. The prize money is open to NGOs, private, scientific and public institutions. As the world’s leading and most diversified global reinsurer, Swiss Re offers financial services products that enable risk taking essential to enterprise and progress. Deadline: 31 May 2009. Further information on EMWIS website

36- DHI's Women's Water Fund - Call for Applications: The DHI Women’s Water Fund has been created as an initiative benefiting from the “King Hassan II Great World Water Prize” presented to Prof. Torkil Jønch Clausen of DHI at the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico in 2006. The Fund’s career programme will draw upon transfer of Danish expertise in water resources by offering capacity building visits to Denmark. A call for applications has been launched for the four weeks course to be held in June on the theme of ‘Integrated Environment and Water Management’ (IEWM). Deadline is 15 April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

37- EMPOWERS Publications on Local Water Governance: On the Occasion of the World Water Day, EMPOWERS Partnership has launched a set of five publications related to local water governance and its different aspects. The publications include guidelines, methods and tools for use in an innovative approach to planning and dialogue within and between local and intermediate level. Another is story book documenting the successes and challenges faced by the community people and the water service providers as they plan together for the better management and development of their villages’ water resources, and a set of Principles and recommendations for policy and practice for improved local water governance. EMPOWERS (Euro-Med Participatory Water Resources Scenarios) is one of MEDA Water projects. Further information on EMWIS website

38- The last issue of Zer0-M Journal "Sustainable Water Management" is now available. This journal is an initiative of the MEDA-Water project “Sustainable Concepts towards a Zero Outflow Municipality (Zer0-M). The journal is mainly about the most interesting presentations of the last Zer0-M conference, but it also includes a vision statement by the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance. Further information on EMWIS website.


39- New WaDImena research series: The Regional Water Demand Initiative (WaDImena) have just published a number of research series on Water Demand Management in the Middle East. Further information on EMWIS website.


40- The Mediterranean region is a showcase of biodiversity, says MEDSTAT II publication: Key data on the wealth and vulnerability of the Mediterranean’s biodiversity and on the growth of protected areas designed to reduce the loss of habitat, a key cause of loss of biodiversity. This publication is part of the Eurostat collection "Statistics in focus", that are short topical publications presenting key data and limited analysis on a specific theme. It is available in English, French and Arabic. Further information on EMWIS website.

41- INSPIRE Draft Implementing Rule for Monitoring and Reporting published: The INSPIRE Draft Implementing Rules for Monitoring and Reporting is now available for public view. The INSPIRE Conference will take place in Maribor (Slovenia), 23-25 June 2008, and its focus will be on reviewing the progress of the INSPIRE Legislation and on the development of SDIs in general. Further information on EMWIS website.


42- The official UN-Water World Water Day website - focusing this year on sanitation - is available online: ; Further information on EMWIS website


43- The National Agricultural Policy Centre in Syria, with the support of the FAO Project GCP/SYR/006/ITA, has announced the publication of the Syrian Agricultural Database 2007 in CD-ROM and Online formats, and in both Arabic and English. SADB 2007 provides detailed and up-to-date data on an extensive range of statistical data related to agriculture. Further information on EMWIS website.


44- INEF Policy Brief 3. Scarce Water, Plenty of Conflicts? Local Water Conflicts and the Role of Development Cooperation: This Policy Brief analyses the causes of intrastate water conflicts and introduces the main challenges for international development cooperation. By typologising water conflicts and showing corresponding policy options the paper provides an overview of possible strategies to cope with water conflicts. Finally, the Policy Brief offers recommendations on how to better identify, resolve and prevent conflicts in the water sector. Further information on EMWIS website.


45- "Water-Related Violence in the Near East": Pierre Blanc offers a survey here of what he terms "water-related violence" - indicating, not the imminent threat of "water wars", but a form of the violation of elementary human needs - in the Near East region (mainly: Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria). Further information on EMWIS website.


46- "Water Scarcity in the Arab Region-Major Problems and Attempts to alleviate their Impacts": This book of Prof Dr. Mamdouh Shahin, mainly deals with climate and hydrology (surface and sub-surface) of the Arab Region.  A CD ROM is included, containing data sets in 3 appendices with meteorological, hydrological and water quality data. Further information on EMWIS website.


47- "Your Guide to Climate Change Adaptation: Reporting from a Climate Proof Seminar" organised on February 5t by the Swedish Water House, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). The seminar used the recommendations from the 2007/2008 Human Development Report as an entry point to discuss water-related issues that remain central to both climate change adaptation and development. Further information on EMWIS website.


48- Proceedings of the "International Conference on the Environmental Problems of the Mediterranean Region" - 12-15 April, 2002, Near East University, Nicosia. Further information on EMWIS website.


49- Water, Sanitation and Health Newsletter N° 88.2, 18 March 2008 Special issue on World Water Day 2008: an opportunity to draw attention to the International Year of Sanitation 2008. Further information on EMWIS website


50- DELTA Review 47, March 2008: This DELTA Review is dedicated to better water management. An overview of water related issues in MENA countries is followed by an analysis of water supply, water demand, and sanitation. Every topic will be discussed highlighting inefficiencies, which can lead to better management possibilities. Further information on EMWIS website


51- Recent Papers on transboundary aquifers : "Shared Groundwater Resources: Global Significance for Social and Environmental Sustainability", and "A Global Programme to Assess, Evaluate & Develop Policy". Further information on EMWIS website

52- "Where climate change meets national security: EU report adds urgency to old warnings": Last year, a group of retired American military officers warned that, left unchecked, climate change could lead to international instability. The problems could include refugees driven by drought, loss of food supplies, and rising sea levels: They might include violent conflicts. The warning was an early sign from senior military leaders that climate change could have a serious national-security dimension. In a report recently presented at a summit of the 27-nation European Union in Brussels, two top EU officials added urgency. Further information on EMWIS website

53- A new version of the SciDev.Net website has been launched, with a fresh appearance and improved navigation. Further information on EMWIS website.

54- WWC (World Water Council) News Update n.33. Further information on EMWIS website


55- Water and Environment Journal vol. 22 no. 1 (March 2008). Further information on EMWIS website


56- Swedish Water House News Flash – February 2008 - Vol. 1, No. 1: The Swedish Water House supports international policy development and co-operation through knowledge generation and dissemination and partnership building primarily within the areas of sustainable river basin management and integrated water resources management. Further information on EMWIS website


57- Mainstreaming Gender Dimension into Integrated Water Resource Development and Management, Samira Al Zoughbi, February 2008: The Syrian government has recognized the necessity for enhancing investment in the social lives quality and integrating gender issues as fundamental indicators in the governmental projects and development programmes. The process of involving women in the economic, social and political life has definitely accelerated in the past 5 to 10 years. Further information on EMWIS website.

58- EU-FP7 Call for proposal - ERA-NET / ERA-NET PLUS Call 2008: Call identifier: FP7-ERANET-2008-RTD, Indicative budget: 29,3 M€. This call for Coordination and Support Actions covers a.o. Environment topics (including Climate Change). Deadline for application: August 12, 2008. Further information on EMWIS website.

59- eContentplus programme call for proposals for the year 2008 launched: The EC adopted the eContentplus 2008 Work Programme and call for proposals on 19 March 2008. The call with an overall budget of 42.5 M€is now officially open and will close on 12 June 2008, 17:00 hrs Luxembourg local time. The call covers various actions in three target areas: Geographic Information, Educational Content, and Digital Libraries. Further information on EMWIS website.

60- In the framework of the programme supporting the Algerian water sector, training activities are necessary to enhance the capacity for action both of the Ministry of Water Resources and its institutions under supervision will be undertaken. This contract aims to organize and conduct training workshops on public management, and project management for the benefit of 150 executives in the water sector. This market includes both educational organization ( "face to face" teaching and documentation) and the logistical organisation (room rentals and equipment, transportation, lodging, restaurants…) training. Deadline for submission of applications: April 14, 2008 at 16:00 (Algerian hour). Further information on EMWIS website.

61- The Syrian Ministry of Irrigation in Damascus announced an external invitation of offers to implement the project of conveying water from Euphrates in Deir el –Zaor site to Palmyra and the phosphate mines. The deadline for offers submissions is: 20 May 2008 (before 15.00 PM local time). Further information on EMWIS website.

62- Mitigating Flood Risk in Flooded Areas in the GAP region in Turkey: The global objective of this assignment is to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of the 'Mitigating flood risk in flooded areas in the GAP region' project. Closing date: 19 December 2008. Further information on EMWIS website.

63- Design and Build Construction of Infrastructure (96 hectares) and Waste Water Treatment Plant of Sanliurfa Organized Industrial Zone,Turkey:  Deadline for submission of tenders: Friday, 6 June 2008 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Further information on EMWIS website.


64- EUROMED 2008 call for papers: Desalination Cooperation among Mediterranean Countries of Europe and the MENA Region (Dead Sea-Jordan; 9-13/11/2008):  In this conference, attention will be focused on the possibility of producing water by desalination for the region in a sustainable manner and at a cost that people can afford. Concern about the environmental impact of desalination has grown and an increasing number of studies is being made. Abstracts deadline: April 20, 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

65- Call for abstracts for the IV International Symposium on Transboundary Waters Management: The main topic of the IV International Symposium on Transboundary Water Management (TWM IV) that will be held in Thessaloniki (Greece) in 15-18/10/2008 is "Transboundary Surface Waters and Shared Aquifers". Extended abstracts up to 3 pages should be submitted by 30th May 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

66- Call for innovative ideas on groundwater in the MENA region: SIWI, Sida, BGR, BMZ and UNESCO are organising a seminar in the form of an innovation forum focusing on groundwater management in the MENA region. Prospective participants are invited to submit an abstract for a concept/paper to be presented, prepare an exhibition, and participate in an incubator of ideas. Participants selected to present a concept note/paper or an exhibition will be sponsored and invited to participate in the World Water Week in Stockholm 2008. The seminar will focus on both technical and governance issues. Deadline for submitting a maximum 600 words abstract or concept note: 20th April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

67- First Announcement and Call for Papers for MELIA 2nd Workshop on Technological Perspectives for Rational Use of water resources in the Mediterranean region: The second workshop of MELIA project (Mediterranean Dialogue on Integrated Water Management, Contract FP6 517612) dedicated to technological perspectives for rational use of water resources in the Mediterranean region. Deadline for Submission of abstracts: 30 April 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

68- Call for papers for the 5th IWA Specialist Conference: Oxidation Technologies for Water & Wastewater Treatment:  This conference will be held in Berlin (Germany) in the period 30 March - 03 April 2009. Abstract Deadline: May 31, 2008. Further information on EMWIS website

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80- International Specialized Course: Operation & Control of activated sludge processes by microscopic analysis. This Course is the 19th in this series offered by Environmental Study Center «Luigi Bazzucchi». The Course is designed for operators and designers of municipal and industrial biological wastewater treatment plants and researchers and graduate students studying the activated sludge process. It will be held in Perugia (Italy) in 16-20 June 2008. Further information on EMWIS website.

81- On 4 and 5 March 2008 The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) in conjunction with Shatil and the Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Water held a two-day workshop The Right to Water and Sanitation in International Law: An International Advocacy Training in Yad Ha'Shmona (near Jerusalem). The workshop aimed to provide local NGOs and others working on water and sanitation issues in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories with legal training on the right to water and sanitation in order to increase advocacy capacity in this area. Further information on EMWIS website.

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Comments on Item (15), FLASH No. 57 by Mamdouh Shahin

-----Original Message-----

From: Mamdouh Shahin []
Saturday, April 05, 2008 5:59 PM
To: EMWIS Flash (HTML)
Subject: Impact of Climate Change on the Flow of the
Nile River

Dear Dr el-Kharraz,J.,
Thank you for mailing me FLASH No. 57. Please find my comments on Item (15) concering the impact of climate change on the flow of the River Nile. I hope through FLASH that the comments below will reach our Egyptian colleagues who are resposible for the
Nile water.
While thanking you in anticipation, please accept my sincere regards.
Mamdouh Shahin 


Comments on Item (15), FLASH No. 57 by Mamdouh Shahin

shahin1932 at

 Hydrologic variables, such as streamflow, occur in nature as a result of interconnected physical processes. Among these processes climatic and physiographic factors play a dominant role. Hence, hydrologic variables are essentially the outcomes of complex time-varying processes, which can be measured by a finite number of observations. Analyses of these observations show that hydrologic variables are both nonlinear (Amorocho and Orlob, 1961) and stochastic in nature (Yevjevich, 1971). These properties can be attributed to:

- Time-varying geological processes such as erosion, deposition, weathering, … etc.

- Climate changes in time

- State uncertainty in time

- Energy transfer of the hydrologic cycle, which is nonlinear in behaviour pattern


The literature of hydrology and climate of the Nile and its Basin is full of accounts related to time variation of the river flow. The next paragraphs, therefore, aim at highlighting the annual fluctuation of the River Nile flow in the course of time since the beginning of the 20th century and some of the approaches used for its interpretation.

In 1935, the Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers (Trans. ASCE, 1935) published a paper by C.S. Jarvis on the Flood-stage records of the River Nile. That paper opened the door wide for several professionals to debate whether river stage, and subsequently river flow, varies in time according to a regular cyclic pattern. Cycles such as Wolf, sunspot and Brückner were dealt with in the paper and the discussions that followed. One of the discussers of the said paper, H.E. Hurst, a leading figure in the hydrology of the Nile and in charge of the Physical Department of the then Ministry of Public Works, Egypt, denied any significant role of cycles in the time-variation of the water level and flow of the Nile. The high correlation between the river level at Namasagali on Lake Victoria and the sunspot cycle (11.1 year) for the period 1896-1923, practically disappeared in the subsequent period 1923-34. Instead, Hurst pointed to the strong possibility that the variation might be attributed to the Southern Seas Oscillation (SSO). He added that the then level of understanding and measuring technique of such an event was not developed enough to support his thinking.


The question of periodicity in river stages and discharges did not come to an end. As an example, Ändel and Balek (1971) upon investigating the flow of the Niger River at Koulikoro station, Mali, for the period 1907-57 concluded that the existence of at least one period of 25.5 year (close to Brückner) was proved at 95% significance. Periodicities of 7.3 year (close to Wolf) and 3.0 year (close to Clough) were also traced in the flow sequence. When the three cycles were incorporated in the model they developed the result was quite satisfactory. Later, Shahin (2002) found that the agreement between the measured and model-obtained flows for the period 1958-79 was less than satisfactory. The relationship between the cycles in the solar phenomena, weather and climate, especially the 11.1- year sunspot cycle and the 22.2-year Brückner cycle, and the rainfall depth at several locations all over the world has been strongly emphasized by King (ESA, 1975).


Almost two decades later, el-Tahir (1996) presented the results of a study in which he used two extensive sets of data; one set giving the sea surface temperature (SST) of the Pacific Ocean, and the other the Nile flow at Aswan. The hypothesis tested in his study was that the natural variability of the river flow at Aswan is related to El Niňo Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The question that followed was whether such information could be used for improving the predictability of the Nile flood. The other objective of the study was to use the relation between ESNO and the Nile flow as an approach for explaining the Hurst Phenomena. It has been suggested then that the ENSO events could be accurately predicted 1 or 2 years ahead using the coupled model of the ocean-atmosphere system available at the Geology Department of the University of Columbia, U.S.A. The predicted SST values for the 17-y period, 1973-89 were used to predict the annual flow volume at Aswan using the expression:


,                                                                         (1) all volumes are expressed in 109 m3 y-1


El-Tahir classified the flow arriving at Aswan into normal ((80-100)* 109 m3 y-1), low flow (less than 80*109 m3 y-1) and high flow (more than 100*109 m3 y-1). Twelve out of the seventeen annual flows predicted by Eq. (1) were in agreement with the measured flows. As a matter of fact, Eq (1) is based on annual flow averaged over a small window of a 0.5 o C centered about –1.5 o C, -1.0 o C, -0.5 o C, 0.0 o C, 0.5 o C, 1.0 o C and 1.5 o C. It should be remembered that flood predictions are made six months ahead of the occurrence of flood in August.  Lastly, El-Tahir (1996) developed a hypothesis according to which the annual flow in the Nile varies with time following ENSO resulting in a non-stationary process and causing the Hurst phenomena. The non-stationary mean and the random fluctuation component explain 25% and 75% of the observed natural variation, respectively.


Plisnier (1998), upon studying the hydrometeorology of Lake Tanganyika, which is close to Basin of Lake Victoria, concluded that the average air temperature in the lake area increased in the period 1964-90 by 0.7 to 0.9o C while the speed of surface winds decreased, particularly since the 1970’s. Beside the general trend of increase in the air temperature, oscillations around the mean were observed. The correlation between air temperature at each of Bujumbura (northern end) and Mbala (southern end) and the sea surface temperature (SST) in el-Niño 4 area of the Pacific Ocean (150o W to 160o E and 5 o S to 5 o N) is remarkable.


Wigley (1992) stated “While considering the future process of global warming, it is generally accepted that the equator-to-pole temperature difference will decrease, leading to changes in the atmospheric pressure field and atmospheric general circulation. It might be suggested that the subtropical high-pressure belt in the northern hemisphere will extend as a consequence of a comparatively small amount of warming.”  The consequences of global warming may not hold everywhere on the micro scale where prevailing local factors can lead to inconsistencies.   


To illustrate the effect of climate change on river flow, let us review briefly some of the findings of McCabe and Hay (1995) regarding the effects of hypothetical climate change on the flow of the Gunnison River, a tributary of the Colorado River, U.S.A. The model used in that study, known as Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), has been developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) around 1988. The data used were the mean monthly temperature To C and precipitation P, mm for the period 1973-89 taken from the basin of the East River.       

- In general the change of precipitation has a more pronounced effect on streamflow than the temperature change has.

- The change of temperature affects in the first place the distribution of streamflow over the year.

- The temperature rise, on annual mean basis, produces a limited decline in streamflow. For example, a rise of 4o C in the annual mean temperature produces a fall in streamflow equivalent to the effect caused by a reduction in precipitation of say 5%.

-          The natural climate change during the period of study was so strong and possibly could have masked the long-term effects of climate change.


Shahin (1999) presented the results of statistical analyses and time-linear regression models fitted to a number of temperature and precipitation time series in some parts of the Arab Region and the neighbouring areas to include the Nile Basin. We shall briefly review here the results of precipitation series at four stations; namely; Gedaref, Khartoum and Wau, all in the Sudan, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Station                   Φ,            λ,             Z,            Period of                Trend Equation   

                                N             E              m             observation                                                                                          

Khartoum              15o 37’     23o 33’    385          1938-89                   P = 179.6-1.125 t*

Gedaref                  14o 02’    35o 24’    610          1900-82                   P =-334.4+0.471X**

Wau                       07o42’     28o 01’     433          1940-84                   P = 9893-4.474 X

Addis Ababa        09o 02’     38o 44’    2440        1900-90                   P = 1264.9-1.261t


Where Φ = latitude, λ = longitude and Z = altitude or height above a certain reference level. t is the year number measured from the beginning of the record, so t = 0 and 1for the years 1938 and 1939, respectively, both for Khartoum station and X**is the absolute number of the year, e.g., X = 1900 and 1901for the beginning year and the year that follows, respectively, both for the series at Gedaref. 

The trends corresponding to the above series, in their respective order, show that the annual precipitation undergoes a decrease with time for all stations except Gederaf where the rainfall seems to increase slightly with time. Will this falling trend continue in the years yet to come before any counter change occurs? If so, the unpleasant consequences decline in the Nile flow will be steadily and strongly felt. Assuming that we are prepared to accept the findings of McCabe and Hay (1995), one should expect a decline of between 10% and 20% in the natural flow of the Nile before 2050. The problem will be much aggravated if one considers the future share per capita, not to forget how the riparian countries will then consent to having a new treaty for allocating the reduced shares among these countries.


The writer of the above comments, being himself one of the oldest Egyptian Irrigation Engineers and Nile Hydrologists still alive, shares his present and junior colleagues their worries about the impact of climate change on the natural flow of the river. He strongly advises the decision makers in Egypt to set up a task team of top experts to deal with the problem in its proper dimensions. Extensive and intensive attention should be directed to having adequate hydrometrical data and to learning lessons from experiences with other rivers in the world. For example, the volume on “Climate Variability and Change-Hydrological Impacts” (Editors: S. Demuth, A. Gustard, E. Planos, F. Scatena &E. Servat) of the Fifth International FRIEND Conference contains almost 120 papers from over 30 countries. It is Publication. No. 308 (2006) of IAHS, 708+xii pp. Additionally, the publication entitled “Regional Hydrological Impacts of Climatic Change-Hydroclimatic Variability” (Editors: S. Franks, T. Wagener, E. Bøgh,….….) includes investigations from different climate zones and regions, including many in Africa and Asia. It is Publication No. 296 (2005) of IAHS, 300+x pp. There are many more publications including well performed investigations of impact of climate change on water resources and they all need to thoroughly reviewed and  understood.    




Amorocho, J. & G.T. Orlob 1961 Non-linear Analysis of Hydrologic Systems, Water Resources Center, Contribution No.40, 147 p.

Ändel, & J. Balek 1971 Analysis of periodicity in hydrological sequences, J. Hydrolo. 14: 66-82.

El-Tahir, A.B. 1996 El-Niňo and natural variability in the flow of the Nile River. Wat. Resour. Res. 32 (1): 131-137.

Jarvis, C.S. 1935 Flood-stage records of the River Nile. Trans. ASCE, Paper No. 1944 (with discussions by H.P. Gillete, R.W. Davenport, H.E. Hurst, T.H. Means, J.W. Breadsley, J.C. Stevens, J.W. Shuman, K.O. Ghaleb and C.S. Jarvis), pp 1012-1071.

King, J.W. 1975 Solar phenomena, weather and climate. European Space Agency (ESA) Bull. No. 3, Neuilly-sûr-Seine, France, 24, 100 p

McCabe, G.J. Jr. & L.E. Hay 1995 Hydrological effects of hypothetical climate change in the East River basin, Colorado, USA. J. Hydrol. Sci. No. 40 (3), pp 303-318.

Plisnier, P.D. 1996 Lake Tanganyika: Recent climate changes and tele-communications with ENSO. Proc. of Int. Conf. on Tropical Climate, Meteorology and Hydrology, Brussels, Belgium, pp 228-250.

Shahin, M.M. 1999 Resources hydriques et modification du climat au Moyen-Orient. Bull. de la Soc. Géogr. de Liège, No. 37 (2), pp 75-90.

Shahin, M.M. 2002 Hydrology  and Water Resources of Africa. Wat. Sci.& Tech. Lib., Vol 41, 663 p + CD Rom, Springer (formerly Kluwer Academic Publishers),  Dordrecht/ Boston/ London. 

Wigley, T.M. 1992 Future climate of the Mediterranean Basin with particular emphasis on changes in precipitation. In: Climatic Change and the Mediterrnean (Jeffic, L., J. Miliman. & G. Sastini Eds.), United Nations Environment Programme.

Yevjevich, V. 1971 Stochastic Processes in Hydrology. Wat. Res. Publ. Ft. Collins, Colorado, USA.

Posted by jauad at 07 Apr 2008 18:02:29