Nile Basin Wetlands Project Underway
At a glance, wetlands – large expanses of swamps – seem like public nuisances, a waste of space; occupying prime land which could otherwise be turned into sprawling shopping malls, hotels or theme parks devoid of any green.
Indeed, several wetlands in the Nile Basin have undergone degradation due to multiple contributing factors; settlements and urbanization by an ever growing population, reclamation and conversion for agriculture. Other factors are upstream infrastructural development, over-exploitation by local communities and climate change.
Wetlands represent about five percent of the total basin area and are concentrated in two areas: the Equatorial Lakes region and the Sudd area in South Sudan. The Sudd wetlands – the most extensive wetland system in the Nile Basin – are highly variable in size, averaging roughly 30,000 square kilometres, but extending up to as large as 130,000 square kilometres during the wet seasons. The Nile Delta north of Egypt, once an area of lush natural wetlands, has now been almost entirely converted into agricultural land.