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Experts warn of diminishing Nile waters

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Text of report by Evelyn Lirri entitled "Experts warn of water reduction in River Nile basin" published by Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor website, BBC Monitoring Africa.

Sept 6, 2005 (Kampala) — Experts have warned that a rapid increase in demand for livestock will put enormous pressure on water resources around the Nile basin in future.

The director-general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) based in Ethiopia, Dr Carlos Sere, said "The Nile basin is home to about 200 million people. Water is the key resource determining their presence. Livestock are key to people’s livelihood and currently utilize a significant part of water."

Sere was speaking at the opening of a regional conference on the Nile basin livestock water productivity, in Kampala yesterday.

The conference under the theme, "Developing a shared vision for livestock production has drawn participants from Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

He said population growth and a rapid increase in demand for livestock products will put enormous pressure on water resources and that the importance of livestock in managing water resources in the Nile basin has been overlooked. Sere said the Nile Basin water sustains life for about 200 million people from 10 African countries. A statement from ILRI said with populations predicted to double by 2025, all countries that are sustained by the Nile basin waters face a major challenge of feeding their growing population.

"Already water shortages constrain food production in many parts of the River Nile basin, producing more food will require more water unless producers and food processors use the available water more efficiently," the statement reads in part.

The statement says about 58 million tropical livestock units occupy the river basin portion of the Nile countries.

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