Experts during public consultations on water management [Photo by Committee Press Unit]

Experts recommend suspension of Nile dredging activities

Experts on water management have recommended to the transitional unity government to halt ongoing dredging activities along the Nile River until credible feasibility studies are conducted. 

The committee of experts made these recommendations Thursday in Juba during the conclusion of the five-day public consultation and awareness on dredging activities, particularly along the Sudd wetland and the White Nile River.

 The committee formed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit urged the national parliament to immediately approve and adopt permanent constitutional provisions on the use, development and management of White Nile and the Sudd wetland.

The public consultation that commenced last week ended with 14 recommendations aimed at mitigating seasonal flooding and also better ways to managing and preserving water.

Some of these recommendations, include the appointment of a legal advisor for the ministry of water resources and irrigation, establishment of an independent water commission.

The committee also called on the government to develop national records and archives on water resources, reconstruct the Rubkona Bridge, Join the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and also include women in the decision-making process.

The recommendation of the experts came following recent suspension of all dredging-related activities by President Salva Kiir until evidence-based studies are carried out on their impact on surrounding communities and the ecosystem.

Environmental experts and academics at the University recently recommended suspension of all dredging activities.

In May, the Unity State government received equipment from Egypt to facilitate dredging along the Naam River and Bahr El Ghazal River claiming it would help mitigate flooding.

The UN estimates that more than 900,000 people were affected by heavy flooding since last year that displaced them in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states respectively. 

Environmentalists have been critical of dredging the rivers for fears that this would result in environmental and economic catastrophe.

The dredging activities they said pose threat to the White Nile River and the Sudd wetlands which facilitate farming and wildlife.

However, several government officials have argued that the dredging would help open up rivers for economic activities and help mitigate floods that have affected most parts of the country. 

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