Jonglei Canal: The Flawed Logic of Hydro-Diplomacy in the Nile Basin

This piece is part of a special "Student Focus" section in the issue and appears in vol. 75, no. 1, "Insecurities: The 75th Anniversary Issue, 1947-2022" (Fall/Winter 2022).

By James Maker Atem

Water disputes have remained a global challenge since the 20th century. For instance, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, originating in Turkey and cutting through both Syria and Iraq, have experienced drastic reductions in water flows in recent years, primarily due to Turkish hydro-engineering and regional droughts. In contrast to many other parts of the world, Africa’s water resources vary in geographical extent and time. Thus, the escalating problem of water scarcity has already reached alarming dimensions in several regions of the African continent, where water is becoming increasingly crucial for economic development and societal well-being, alongside the establishment of complex energy and irrigation projects along river basins to sustain livelihoods. The Nile River is a case in point. This case study presents the Jonglei Canal project in South Sudan, a proposed effort to finish the half-completed engineering megaproject funded by Egypt, and the flawed logic of hydro-diplomacy in the Nile Basin. Disputes have since escalated and led to severe tensions between upstream and downstream riparian states. These states have approached conflict over resource control and wielded power against one another, which can be attributed to political development within each state. The author conducted a study, using descriptive survey design to sample university students and political leaders within the Nile Basin, to gauge informed opinions on the state of this protracted and complicated situation. Results are provided, along with commentary based on contemporary evidence and historical context. The results suggest that the Jonglei Canal project, as an ongoing hydro-construction project in South Sudan, is an immediate consequence of Egypt’s growing demands for water. The article concludes with sufficient recommendations for a peaceful settlement.


For the longest period, downstream countries—Egypt and Sudan—have dominated the Nile’s hydro-politics, leaving upstream countries, East African states, out of critical decision-making processes. Consequently, the problem that this study analyzes is South Sudan’s role in the Nile River States’ hydro-diplomacy.

The Jonglei Canal Project of South Sudan first began in 1980, though the idea of a dam on the Nile in this region predates this attempt by decades. It is located in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region. It started as a hydro-construction project that aims to alter the White Nile’s path as it passes through the Sudd, a marshy area. The canal’s purpose is to absorb a significant amount of water that enters Sudan via this swamp and channel it quickly through the Sudd’s marshes and wetlands, preventing most of the water from being lost to transpiration and evaporation en route north. However, when the North-South civil war in Sudan broke out in 1983, the canal project was temporarily halted.

According to John Garang de Mabior, the founder of the Sudanese revolution and the first president of South Sudan, the Jonglei project area is set to correspond with the administrative boundaries of the Sudd marshes in South Sudan. This area basically lies between 6’ 30’ and 9’ 30’ North Latitude and 30’ 10’ and 34’ East Longitude. The Sobat, White Nile, and Bahr el Jebel Rivers border it on the north and west; the state of Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria border it on the south; and Ethiopia has a boundary with it on the east. The rural counties of Bor, Twic East, Duk, Pigi, Pibor, Akobo, Waat, and Fanjak are included in the Jonglei Projects Areas. Currently, this region is approximately 120,000 square kilometers (30 million acres) of swamp, grassland, and agriculture.[1]

The current proposal for the Jonglei Canal is to complete the project with funding by Egypt. This proposal has split the current South Sudanese government, with various ministries arguing for and again the proposed diversion of the Nile River. While the Jonglei Canal is intended to positively impact the Nile basin downstream, this research demonstrates that it may have detrimental consequences for the Sudd area’s residents, flora and fauna, and economy. Furthermore, the Sudd wetlands and related floodplains may also shrink due to the water diversion, which will further impact the region.[2]

With the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the number of Nile riparian countries has since increased to 11, further complicating this transnational issue. Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya share Lake Victoria, and it is here that the White Nile begins as the Victoria Nile. The Kagera River, which is the main river flowing into Lake Victoria, originates in the highlands of Burundi and Rwanda. Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo share the Semliki River, which flows into Lake Albert (one of the White Nile’s sources) and Lake Albert itself. Eventually, the White Nile consolidates its position in the world’s newest state of South Sudan. Additionally, Ethiopia, where the Blue Nile and almost all of its tributaries originate, shares sections of the Setit River, a tributary of the Atbara River. Sudan and Egypt are, admittedly, the riparian states with the lowest water levels.

Map 1: Map of South Sudan

Map 1: Map of South Sudan

Source: United Nations, Department of Field Support.

The Nile River is shared by 11 states, each with varying levels of need, uses, and, ultimately, stakes. Due to their growing populations and the increased need for water everywhere—particularly for domestic use, irrigation, and the production of electricity—Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia have extremely high stakes and interests. Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, and Rwanda have moderate stakes and interests, while Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are assessed to have low stakes and interests.[4]

Part A—Historical Background and Context


At first glance, hydro-diplomacy appears to be a simple concept. Hydrodiplomacy, also known as water diplomacy, is the term for the existence of conflict or cooperation over water resources, according to Elhance, who described hydro-diplomacy as the “systematic study of conflict and cooperation between states over water resources that transcend international borders.”[5] However, the definition of hydro-diplomacy should not only be limited to the interaction of sovereign states, involving only transboundary water resources. Specifically, according to Meissner, hydro-diplomacy is “the systematic research of the interaction between states, non-state actors, among other participants, both inside and outside the state, regarding the authoritative allocation and use of international and national water resources.”[6]

According to Granit et al.,[7] conflict and cooperation are two other key concepts that have dominated the literature on transboundary water. Both are heavily reliant on one another, as one’s existence is the reason for the other’s. In other words, one of them becoming a reality is the catalyst for the advent of the other. As a result, they can be considered “opposite ends of a spectrum rather than two sides of the same coin.”[8] According to Hultin, conflict is the existence of a clash of interests among parties with the struggle to pursue it.[9]

Conflicts over transboundary rivers arise for various reasons. Scarcity of demanded water and equitable utilization, for example, are the primary sources of conflict in water-scarce locations like the Rhine River basin, which functions as an excellent example of historical scholarship on hydro-diplomacy. The Rhine is a European river with a variety of hydro-political features. It flows for 1,232 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, passing through Switzerland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.[10] Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands are part of the Rhine’s 225,000 km2 catchment region. The watershed is dominated by Switzerland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, which account for 92% of the Rhine River Basin area.

In contrast, the remaining five basin countries account for the remaining 8%.[11] The Rhine’s navigation and trade led to significant urban, agricultural, and industrial growth, including chemical, mining, pharmaceutical, and steel production. Numerous issues concerning the Rhine River have sparked debates, including over water quality, river ecology, and flooding. In contrast, cooperative relationships between riparian states, can help to improve the situation. In the context of the Jonglei Canal basin, this would include the 11 countries that the Nile River drains. Existing legal instruments and institutions elsewhere have proven to be extremely useful in resolving disputes.[12] However, the rarity of literature that attempts to critically analyze the role of a newly independent state along the river basin creates a gap. Therefore, this research seeks to fill this gap, adding to the growing body of knowledge on resource-based conflicts.

The Jonglei Canal Project of South Sudan

Against this background, the meaning of the Nile’s hydro-diplomacy merits further examination, particularly in the Republic of South Sudan’s Jonglei Canal Project. Locally, according to Collins, the northern section of the Jonglei Canal, a 180 km long channel, exists in the Sudd, the enormous swamp that collects the waters of the upper White Nile in the state of Jonglei (which borders on the South with the equatorial states of South Sudan).[13] Yet geographers, historians, and archeologists have extensively examined the entire Nile Basin and its importance as a source of livelihood for the population for many years. It is one of the world’s oldest sites, according to Waterbury,[14] and has been referred to as the “cradle of civilization” by writers. The Nile basin is where great ancient diplomacy and empires emerged: the Pharaonic Kingdom of Egypt, the ancient Sudanese Kingdom of Merowe, and the Aksumite of Ethiopia are all linked to the Nile basin. According to studies, the population of the Nile basin will exceed 600 million by 2050. The region is already experiencing severe water stress due to rapid population growth and global warming. Egypt and the other Nile basin countries, particularly Ethiopia and Sudan, whose countries dominate the Nile River’s life, have already expressed concern about water scarcity.[15]

The Sudanese government began construction of the Canal in 1978 to divert more water from the Nile River for use in north Sudan and Egypt.[16] However, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA/M) leadership saw that as another way of robbing the South of its resources. This was notwithstanding both the environmental, humanitarian, and long-term water security consequences posed to the local population.[17]

The Canal was thus stopped in its tracks by the SPLA at the earliest months of the war. The completed Canal was intended to divert a portion of the water from entering the Sudd and send it directly for a total of 360 km, from the South to the north Sudan, from Mading-Bor to Malakal, to provide great ecological and economic benefits to downriver lands. The government of Egypt first studied the Jonglei Canal scheme in 1946, and plans were developed in 1954-59.[18] The construction work on the Canal began in 1978, but the outbreak of political instability in Sudan held up work for many years.

Map 2: Map of Jonglei state

Map 2: Map of Jonglei state

Source: Small Arms Survey, “My neighbor, my enemy: Inter-tribal violence in Jonglei.”

Historical Context

For nearly a century, Egypt and Sudan have monopolized and controlled the use of Nile waters without appropriately sharing them with the other countries through which the Nile flows. The 1929 River Nile Treaty is a hotly contested legal document that provides the exclusive right of the utilization of waters of the Nile to Egypt. The British colonial power signed it on behalf of the East African countries under protectorate. These countries were Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Another agreement was signed between the British Empire and Italy. Britain signed on behalf of Egypt and Sudan, while Italy signed on behalf of Ethiopia. The two agreements aimed to control the water usage; the former controlled the flow of the White Nile (from East Africa), and the latter held the Blue Nile flow from the Ethiopian highlands.[22]

These colonial agreements provided the legal basis for Egypt to have absolute rights over water use. It further prohibited any of these countries from establishing development projects that may impede the flow of waters to Egypt. The 1929 treaty was further strengthened by the 1959 bilateral water agreement between the Sudan and Egypt on using the waters of the river Nile. Unfortunately, like the 1929 treaty, the 1959 agreement did not even reconsider all the interests of the riparian states in water sharing; even though, at the time, most of these states were gaining independence and demand for the use of the waters had begun to increase dramatically.[23]

The Nile remains unique in its lack of updated and current water sharing arrangements. Other international rivers have such arrangements between states to resolve conflicts. For example, there is a water-sharing agreement between the United States and Mexico on the Colorado River, India and Bangladesh on the Ganges River, and China and its Southeast Asian neighbors on the Mekong River.[24] Yet in the case of the Nile waters, Egypt and later Sudan exclusively share the waters, with the former absorbing 85% of the annual flow and the latter about 15%. As more water is required through the Jonglei Canal project, it is the South Sudanese who go lacking, with none having been allocated under the Nile Water Agreement.[25] The Nile Water Agreement from 1959 grants Sudan 18.5 billion cubic meters (BCM) annually. However, since South Sudan was a part of Sudan until July 2011, its share fell under the overall percentage allotted to Sudan.

The Jonglei Canal under construction in 1983. The project was soon abandoned after a rebel attack.

The Jonglei Canal under construction in 1983. The project was soon abandoned after a rebel attack.

Source: Chip Hires / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Contemporary Dynamics

Climate change is likely to cause tensions over Nile water to increase among the Nile riparian states. The need for water has risen dramatically due to population growth and the effects of global warming. Moreover, some basin states have already felt a significant water shortage due to extreme natural occurrences such as recurring drought and flooding. The impacts of geopolitical interests on the Nile also intensify disputes between the riparian states. For instance, the emergence of China as a vital player in the power dynamics of the Nile basin has bolstered multiple unilateral moves for the execution of large-scale water development projects, particularly the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia.[26]

Tensions have often flared among the Nile Basin countries. On several occasions, Egypt has threatened military action against Ethiopia if the latter dared construct dams on the Blue Nile. However, it is not only Ethiopia that disputes Egypt’s right over the Nile. In the most recent two treaties, the upstream states opposed Egypt’s declared absolute right to the Nile waters enshrined. They argue that these treaties, which gave it that right, were colonial agreements, and now because each one of them is an independent country, those agreements are therefore null and void. That means they are not part of the treaties, and they urge Egypt to renegotiate a new agreement that will be inclusive and reflect the interests of all the Nile basin states. During a meeting of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) on April 13, 2013 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, ministers once again declined to renegotiate an 80-year-old treaty that maintains Egypt receives the lion’s share of water from the Nile River.[27]

According to Salman, states are generally suspicious of one another in a region like the Nile Basin, and so there is little information sharing.[28] But for this region to remain stable and for the management of the Nile’s water to improve, open communication between states is essential. The potential for water issues to advance democracy and equality across nations depends on how actively involved the relevant governments are. The Nile Basin Initiative, which was started in 1999 and aims to “develop the river in a cooperative manner, share enormous socio-economic advantages, and promote regional peace and security,” is one of the current efforts to resolve conflicts. It is focused on managing water resources, agriculture, and hydroelectric power.[29]

Theoretical Framework

As put forward by Gramscian theory on hegemony and counter-hegemony, and later neo-Gramscian, hegemony is defined as “political power that flows from intellectual and moral leadership.” According to Gramsci, power is relational, and the interaction of diverse actors measures its hegemonic power effectiveness. He proposed that hegemony includes leadership and legitimacy but more importantly ideas, knowledge, and consent. Hegemony is not the use of coercion; instead, it is the power of ideas and knowledge.[30]

The unequal power with which states in the Nile basin engage in relations necessitates this discussion on hegemony. Drawing on the theory, it can be recognized that Egypt has also deployed a hegemonic position—not mere physical dominance against other riparian states, including South Sudan. While at times, Egypt has issued threats against upstream riparian countries, these threats have often been used hand-in-hand with political leadership: for example, through power to assert negotiation skills. The primary purpose of hegemony is to maintain and consolidate the status quo in favor of the hegemon. In Egypt’s case, it wants to continue its dominance over the Nile River water.[31]

On the other hand, counter-hegemony is when non-hegemonic parties partially or break the consent. Undoubtedly, South Sudan, a non-hegemonic riparian state, has recently been countering the Egyptian thrust. Thus, South Sudan has endeavored to resist hegemonic pressure and build up a hegemonic counter strategy by abolishing the Jonglei Canal Project and instead re-launch its own construction of dam projects for power production and irrigation along the Nile.

Part B—Survey Methodology and Results


In order to assess the current dynamics surrounding the Jonglei Canal project and its complexity, a study was conducted of knowledgeable university students and local politicians to gauge opinions and arrive at a collective understanding of these relations.

The study used a descriptive survey. According to Mugenda and Mugenda, descriptive research determines and reports the way things are.[32] Busaha and Harter observed that the overall purpose of a descriptive study is to obtain comprehensive information from every member of a population of interest.[33]

Importantly, the study was conducted in the Jonglei Project area. Currently, the Jonglei State in the Republic of South Sudan and diplomatic missions of selected riparian states in Nairobi, Kenya.

The population of interest are found from the Institutions which have a significant stake in the issue of hydro diplomacy in the project area: the Republic of South Sudan Embassy in Nairobi-Kenya, University students from Jonglei State in Kenya, and respondents from Jonglei state’s capital, Mading-Bor, in the Republic of South Sudan (R.S.S.).

The author used simple random sampling to identify respondents from both Jonglei State’s Capital Mading-Bor in the R.S.S. and South Sudanese University students in Kenya. In contrast, the Purposive sampling technique was used to select government officials at the R.S.S. Embassy and seven diplomatic missions of selected riparian states in Nairobi-Kenya. Therefore, to get a representative and desired sample size, the desired sample population was determined using Fisher’s formula for sample size determination.[i]

Where n=desired sample size (the target population is less than 10,000).

z=the standard normal deviation at the confidence level of 95% is 1.96.

p=the proportion of the target population estimated to have characteristics being measured is set at 10%

q=1-p (probability of non-success)

d=level of statistical significance set at 0.01 for greater levels of rigor.

n= ([(1.96)^2]*0.5*(1−0.5)) / ((0.05)^2)


Therefore, the total number of respondents considered was less than 384. However, a total of 350 respondents effectively responded to various questions that were quantitatively analyzed.

Findings are presented in both numeric and graphical form, followed by a commentary providing further historical and contemporary background.

Finding 1: Hydro-diplomacy is Historical

The first inquiry sought to test the historical nature of hydro-diplomacy in the Nile basin, with so much of the current dynamics determined by politics and process from decades previously. The study found that out of 350 respondents, 179 (51.14%) strongly agreed, 61 (17.43%) agreed, 81 (23.14%) disagreed, and 29 (8.286%) strongly disagreed with the inquiry that the nature of hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal project is historical. The results are illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is historical.”

Figure 1: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is historical.”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


It should be recognized that despite the historical nature of relations within the riparian states, Egypt’s historical claim to water is rejected by the other riparian states which see it as an attempt to confirm the hegemony of Egypt and Sudan over the Nile and to get them to recognize the 1959 Agreement. At the same time, those other riparian states also reject the 1929 Nile Agreement which gave Egypt veto power over any project in the then British colonies of Sudan, Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda, which would negatively affect Egypt. They contend that they are not bound by this agreement because they were not parties to it. These countries also entreated the Nyerere Doctrine, which gave treaties concluded during the colonial era two years to be renegotiated; otherwise, they would lapse after that period. Egypt, on the other hand, invokes the principle of state succession to support its claim that the 1929 Agreement remains valid and binding.

Egypt and Sudan contend that their historic and existing uses and rights are protected under international law and not negotiable. The other riparian states also invoke international law in support of their claims to a share of the Nile waters. They argue that since almost the entire flow of the Nile originates within their territories, they are entitled to an equitable and reasonable share of that flow. The 1959 Nile Agreement also addressed the water losses in the vast swamps and marshes of South Sudan and the need for conservation and use of such waters. Under the Agreement, the two parties would carry out a project for conserving some of the waters of these swamps to increase the flow of the Nile. The benefits and costs of such a project are to be shared equally between the two parties. The Agreement gave Egypt the right to undertake this work by itself if it needs the water before Sudan does. When Sudan is ready to use its share, it would reimburse Egypt for its share of the cost of the work. Thus, the swamps and marshes of South Sudan have been viewed by Egypt and the Sudan as a major potential source of additional water for their use.

Finding 2: Hydro-Diplomacy is Protracted

In addition to the historical timeframe of the Nile basin hydro-diplomacy, the duration of the unresolved nature of the Jonglei Canal project has been noted, suggesting that the circumstances around the project have become protracted—drawing out longer than is ideal. The study found that out of 350 respondents, 115 (32.86%) strongly agreed, 99 (28.29%) agreed, 67 (19.14%) disagreed, and 69 (19.71%) strongly disagreed with the inquiry that the nature of hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal project is protracted. The results are illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is protracted.”

Figure 2: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is protracted.”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


Respondents acknowledge that the situation with the Jonglei Canal has remained unresolved for decades, resulting in a protracted conflict over resources. Since the official plans for constructing the Jonglei Canal were unveiled in 1974, hydro-diplomacy has played a historical role in the endeavor to construct the canal in the Jonglei Projects Area. However, at the time, the Southern Regional Government’s High Executive Council decided not to oppose the plans. Instead, public demonstrations against the project were held in Juba in response to the H.E.C.’s ascendance, which led to the shooting of demonstrators and the arrest or escape of Regional Assemblymen who opposed the canal.

Past arrangements contributed to current gridlock. Despite the wide range of interests and contributions to the river flow, Egypt and to a lesser extent Sudan, have for a long time dominated the Nile River. In 1959, Egypt and Sudan reached an Agreement for the Full Utilization of the Nile Waters (the 1959 Nile Agreement). This Agreement established the total annual flow of the Nile stood at Aswan as 84 BCM and allocated 55.5 BCM to Egypt and 18.5 BCM to Sudan. The remaining 10 BCM in South Sudan’s White Nile represent the evaporation losses at the large reservoir created by and extending below the Aswan High Dam to the Sudan and Egypt. The construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt and the Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile in Sudan was also sanctioned in the Agreement. For assurance of cooperation in the management of the Nile waters, it was established in the Agreement for there to be a Permanent Joint Technical Committee with an equal number of members from each country. Despite the claims of the other riparian states to a share of the Nile waters, the two countries apportioned the entire flow of the Nile at Aswan to themselves. They also conferred the Permanent Joint Technical Committee with the authority to supervise the use of such share, if allowed,[34] resulting in the unequal allocations and limited ability to rectify the injustice to this day.

Finding 3: Hydro-diplomacy is Complex

The study sought to test whether the nature of hydro-diplomacy in the Jonglei Canal project is complex, given that there are 11 states competing for the Nile’s water resources, each with different stakes and interests. Additionally, the impacts of geopolitical interests and climate change on the Nile exacerbate tensions amongst the Nile’s riparian states. For example, the emergence of China as a significant player in the power politics of the Nile basin has facilitated several unilateral initiatives for large-scale water development projects, while the increasing number of extreme climate phenomena such as droughts and floods has put increased stresses on the agriculturalists who call the region home.

The study found that out of 350 respondents, 151 (43.14%) strongly agreed, 50 (14.29%) agreed, 69 (19.71%) disagreed and 70 (22.86%) strongly disagreed with the inquiry that the nature of hydro-diplomacy in the Jonglei Canal project is complex. The results are illustrated in Figure 3.

Water is a complex subject, since there is high demand for it yet limited quantities and regional and international differences in water resources and allocation procedures. The conflict between riparian states along the Nile over water resources has worsened due to political tensions, most acutely the Sudanese civil war. By accepted notions of complexity, hydro-diplomacy in the Nile basin is assuming the qualities of a complex crisis.

Figure 3: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is complex.”

Figure 3: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is complex.”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


The Jonglei Canal is likely to impact climate significantly, specifically groundwater recharges, silt, and water quality. This is also likely to involve the loss of fish habitat and grazing areas, which will have profound implications for the indigenous peoples of the site. A whole range of effects of the canal may be disadvantageous to the inhabitants of the Jonglei Canal area in particular and the people of South Sudan in general. The river-flooded grasslands are an essential seasonal resource during the driest months of the year. A severe decrease in the discharge into the Sudd resulting from the Jonglei Canal would bring about the total disappearance of many lakes in the papyrus zone and reduce others to the status of seasonal logons with a severe loss of year-round fish and fishing potential in the area.

The Jonglei Canal is expected to be a disaster for the region’s biodiversity and ecosystem. Worse still, there appears to be no concrete plan for the site’s development in the recently presented proposal. Therefore, this study raises the questions the following questions surrounding ecological impact and effects on livelihoods: What agricultural and industrial development is recommended to ensure a high standard of life for residents on both sides of the canal? What are the answers to South Sudan’s demand for its allotment of Nile waters in line with the revised canal plan? How would the Jonglei Canal project serve South Sudan when it is apparent that livelihoods will be impacted, which will be a burden to deal with in the future?

Such questions must be answered in light of the increasing complexity of the local hydrology, largely owing to climate change. According to recent statistics, the 2019’s floods in South Sudan impacted over a million people. Villagers have been compelled to relocate, numbering around 481,000. Homes and medical institutions have been damaged, as well as blocked roads and submerged towns and villages. Climate change in South Sudan’s Jonglei state reduces average rainfall and raises average temperatures. When these two elements are combined, evapotranspiration decreases, resulting in decreased Sudd biomass and water supplies. As a result, the Jonglei state is becoming increasingly drier, with longer and more intense droughts.

Such shifts severely influence an already unstable seasonal food production and migration pattern. As a result, food insecurity is on the rise, as evidenced by the Food and Agriculture Organization’s findings of high levels of malnutrition, which lead to higher mortality rates. Pastoral communities travel to locations with more Sudd and water to adapt to these natural conditions. Increased migration leads to an increasingly growing number of actors contending for an exponentially decreasing number of resources due to this mix of change and transformation. As a result, competition for increasingly scarce resources contributes to armed conflict in Jonglei State.

A village surrounded by swamp in South Sudan.

A village surrounded by swamp in South Sudan.

Source: Patrick Meinhardt / Afp via Getty Images.

Finding 4: Hydro-diplomacy is Multi-faceted

The hydro-politics of the Nile is multifaceted because it involves both conflict and cooperation. Since the 1950s, both cooperation and conflict have characterized the Nile River basin’s water relations. However, after the Framework Convention for the Nile Basin negotiations failed on June 25, 2007, disagreements over hydro-political interactions within the regional system of the Nile Basin recently deteriorated and reached a catastrophic level within the context of the Sudanese civil war.

The study found that out of 350 respondents, 139 (39.71%) strongly agreed, 52 (14.86%) agreed, 82 (23.43%) disagreed and 77 (22%) strongly disagreed with the inquiry that the nature of hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal project is multi-faceted. The results are illustrated in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-Diplomacy is multifaceted.”

Figure 4: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-Diplomacy is multifaceted.”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


In addition to the climate and historical dimensions, Egypt is presently lobbying to get the support of legislators in the South Sudanese government through bribery. In April 2022, a team led by the Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Honorable Manawa Peter Gatkuoth—who later died on June 19, under mysteriously circumstances—and his senior technical staff presented the proposal to the office of the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. Machar was pleased, adding that he could support the project without reservation because it would boost the economy and provide opportunities for South Sudanese. The proposal to dredge the Naam River and revive the construction of the Jonglei Canal infuriated South Sudanese citizens. The intellectuals mocked it as “the roar of a paper lion” that will never see the light of day. However, the vice chancellor of Juba University, Prof. John Akech, responded quickly to the allegations by amassing 100,000 signatures to block the proposal in the national parliament, arguing that it would have serious implications for the area.

To deliver their conclusions on the practicality of dredging the river Naam and revitalizing the Jonglei Canal, a team of experts headed by Professor Tag Elkhazin, a retired Canadian professor with extensive knowledge of the Nile River basin, was contracted and they did so in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The team rejected both ideas, citing negative effects on the environment, the extinction of natural aquatic life in both rivers, and the fact that the project was foreign designed to benefit Egypt and Sudan’s to the detriment of the locals. It was noted that South Sudan did not fight two costly and devastating wars that lasted fifty years to be the target of predatory outsiders-imposed projects and allow the country’s precious natural resources to be looted.

Finding 5: Hydro-diplomacy is Asymmetric

Previous findings should reveal the obvious quality of relations among the riparian states: it is unequal. Historical contingency and current legal frameworks have ensconced Egypt and Sudan as undisputed leaders in the space, revealing the asymmetric quality to political contestations.

The study found that out of 350 respondents,143 (40.86%) strongly agreed, 69 (19.71%) agreed, 79 (22%) disagreed, and 61 (17.43%) strongly disagreed with the inquiry that the nature of hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal project is asymmetric. The results are illustrated in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is asymmetric.”

Figure 5: Responses to the inquiry: “Hydro-diplomacy is asymmetric.”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


Control of the Nile basin’s shared water resources is characterized by a high degree of asymmetry brought about by factors including the riparian’s different capacities to technically control, utilize, and allocate the water resources. In terms of their technical control, the riparian states demonstrate varying capacities to harness the resource. This is based on their hydraulic infrastructural and storage capacity.[35] In the 19th Century, Egypt began to develop its hydraulic mission, and expanded it greatly during the 20th Century, under the British Condominium.[36] In the late 1960s, the construction of the High Aswan Dam determined Egypt’s full technical control over the Nile resources. The dam has a total storage capacity of 169 billion cubic meters annually, which is more than enough to store a full flood of the Nile.[37] Under the Anglo-Egyptian condominium, Sudan’s development of hydraulic infrastructure in the Nile was initiated and saw an expansion in the post-independence period from 1956 to 1965. The dams built in these two periods—Sennar, Jebel Aulia, Khashm El-Girba, and Roseires—have a limited storage capacity (annual total of 6.9 billion cubic meters) when compared with those of Egypt.[38] No more storage dams were constructed in Sudan between 1965 and 2008.

The existence and persistence of asymmetric power relations among the Nile riparians can partially be explained by the asymmetric control of the Nile’s water resources. This afforded Egypt a position of hegemony in the basin. Zeitoun and Warner define three dimensions of power. First, material power relates to the levels of economic development, military might, political stability, and access to external political and financial support. Second, bargaining power is determined by the ability to control and influence the agenda and the “red lines” of negotiations. Third, ideational power is determined by the ability to influence knowledge and construct discourse.[39] In relative terms, historically, Egypt has been the most powerful riparian state in each of these dimensions. Therefore, in terms of economic strength, Egypt is the clear hegemon on the Nile.[40] Its economy is more diverse and further integrated into the global economy than those of other riparian states making it quite strong. Egypt has maintained both an important international position and good relations with international donors due to its geo-strategic location. It has benefited from close political and economic relations with the United States of America (USA) and European and Middle Eastern countries, and it has been a recipient of major international financial support.[41] Furthermore, it is a major regional military power and has the capacity to project and sustain this might. In terms of bargaining power, Egypt has been the strongest riparian in the basin and has managed control over the agenda of diplomacy. This includes the ways in which potential issues are kept out of the political process. Egypt has developed a capacity to influence the basin’s overall hydro political agenda including bilateral and multilateral political relations, through discursive and bargaining tools.[42]

As enshrined in the 1959 Agreement, though Egypt’s goal is the protection of its acquired rights, its position in the basin and its national water policies have changed. In past decades, Egypt faced challenges due to increasing population growth and growing pressure over old lands in the Nile valley and delta.[43] This has seen Egyptian authorities adopt a policy of moving people out of the old valley towards newly reclaimed lands in the desert, wherein new agricultural projects are being developed.[44] Three major horizontal expansion projects have been ongoing since the late 1990s: the North Sinai Agriculture Development Project, the West Delta Irrigation Project, and the South Valley/Toshka Development Project. The aim of all these expansion projects is to reclaim thousands of hectares of land.[45] The water requirements of these projects are immense; thus, groundwater resources and reused water might be able to provide part of the needs. As Egypt’s plans include substantially increasing the utilization of Nile water, the other part is sought from the Nile. The policy is extremely controversial at both a domestic and basin level. Internally, in particular, Toshka, the project, is criticized for being economically and financially infeasible. They have been considered the paranoiac monument building of President Mubarak.[46]

The project is understood as an Egyptian attempt to put more facts on the ground within the basin. The project prevents other riparians from making use of this water and cements its historic rights to the Nile water. The South Valley or Toshka Project is of particular relevance in regional terms. Starting in 1997, this is an Egyptian unilateral project. It aims to reclaim one and a half million acres of land and is estimated to require over 5 billion cubic meters of water annually. During the last decade, through a spillway and a huge pumping station, Egypt has started transferring water from Lake Nasser to the Toshka depression area.[47]

In contrast, the upstream riparians have only initiated their hydraulic missions comparatively recently, and their storage capacities remain extremely limited.[48] However, new projects are under construction in the upstream Nile region. Moreover, this asymmetric power imbalance is related to the inability of upstream riparian states to challenge the status quo due to their collective and individual scarcity of power resources. This reveals their internal structural weaknesses.[49] However, the most recent power dynamics in the basin’s upstream region suggest a changing balance of regional power, under which upstream riparian states are increasingly contesting and challenging the current hydro political regime.[50]

Finding 6: The Nature of Actors’ Involvement in Hydro-diplomacy in the Jonglei Canal Project Includes Both Hegemonic and Nonhegemonic Behavior

The fraught position of Egypt and the recent historical relationship with Sudan prompts an inquiry on the nature of the actors involved, and whether some states in particular are demonstrating hegemonic behavior, as defined above.

The study found that there are, in fact, hegemonic and non-hegemonic actors involved in the hydro-diplomacy of the Jonglei Canal Project in South Sudan. Out of 350 respondents, 201 indicated that there are hegemonic actors while 149 reasoned that there are non-hegemonic actors. The results are illustrated in Figure 6.

Figure 6: Responses to the inquiry: “What is the level of actors’ involvement in hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal Project?”

Figure 6: Responses to the inquiry: “What is the level of actors’
involvement in hydro-diplomacy in Jonglei Canal Project?”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


While this inquiry initially sought to characterize the nature of Egypt’s and Sudan’s, though especially the former’s, position within the complex web of relationships, the high number of respondents who asserted that actors are not ultimately hegemonic reinforced the very local nature of the context, notwithstanding the machinations in faraway Cairo and Khartoum. Initial public protest over original project reflects this.

Soon after the official plans for constructing the Jonglei Canal were unveiled in April 1974, the High Executive Council of the Southern Regional Government chose “not to oppose” them from 1972 until 1983. In response to the South’s ascension, there were public protests in Juba against the plans, which resulted in the shooting of protesters and the arrest or escape of Regional Assemblymen opposed to the canal.[51]

Given this legacy of protest against the project, Schomerus and Allen claim that violence in Jonglei is frequently referred to as “ethnic” or “tribal,”[52] conjuring up pictures of impenetrable, intractable conflict in the minds of many outsiders. However, the complexity of dynamics inside and between ethnic groups—as well as among those groups and external actors— is often minimized by such generalizing perspectives. Schomerus and Allen contend that “When interrogating the tribal label concerning specific incidents of local violence, it seems clear that the ‘tribal’ affiliation is at best only one component of a complex web of political power, marginalization, resource competition, and unaccountable government structures.”[53] Ethnic, familial, and spiritual loyalties and lineages; political aspirations and ambitions; social and economic status and ties; and other factors influence power dynamics and alliances among conflict parties. Given the importance of ethnic identities to many people, as well as the exploitation of ethnic group affiliations by various military and political leaders and other actors during the civil war and beyond, it is helpful here to examine the historical and socio-political positions of the major ethnic groups in Jonglei to understand their role in the current conflict better.

Map 3: Approximate Ethnic Boundaries within the Sudd Basin, South Sudan

Map 3: Approximate Ethnic Boundaries within the Sudd Basin, South


The Dinka are the second most populous ethnic group in Jonglei state and the largest in South Sudan, accounting for over 40% of the country’s population.[54] Not surprisingly, they are one of the largest groups in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM),[ii] alongside the Nuer, and are seen as controlling the Jonglei state government as well as much of the national government, not least because of John Garang’s legacy and the current presidency of Salva Kiir, a Dinka from Bahr el Ghazal. The Dinka have enormous political clout due to their more significant numbers and, in some situations, a lengthy history of education and political access. Because one of the first schools in the south was built at Mading-Bor, the Dinka of Jonglei had some of the earliest access to education in South Sudan. This provided them an advantage in the race for senior government and political positions. As a result, they wielded a more significant influence in state and national politics than many ethnic groups.[55] This advantage could explain why there are so many Dinka in national leadership positions, including the mother of the nation, Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, Lt. Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk, and Michael Makuei Lueth and Deng Dau Malek, among others. The dynamics mentioned above have shaped the history of conflict between the Dinka and the Nuer in Jonglei state. However, state-level fighting had diminished somewhat in the years leading up to independence in 2011. The Dinka have been on both the attacking and the receiving end of cattle raids to and from Murle and, less recently, Nuer areas. Several Dinka teenagers have also actively participated in attacks on Pibor Administrative Area, launched from the Lou Nuer area by the White Army. Almost all the SPLA soldiers in Pibor, according to reports, have been implicated in brutality against David Yau Yau’s former rebel group and civilians.[56]

National political dynamics have also shaped conflict at the local level. The struggle between Dinka and the Nuer elite for political and economic dominance was regularly highlighted as a significant potential flashpoint of more significant national conflict, and Jonglei state was widely expected to be a site of violence if such a conflict were to erupt. These dark predictions were ultimately born out in late 2013. President Kiir had dismissed his entire cabinet in July 2013, the Secretary-General of the SPLM (his party), Pagan Amum Okiech, and Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, a Nuer from the Unity state with whom Kiir had always had a rocky relationship, but the anticipated violent showdown did not materialize immediately.[57] However, other potential flashpoints remained on the horizon, including a repeatedly delayed SPLM national leadership convention and the national elections scheduled for 2015; power contestations around these contentious political issues led to the eruption of violence in December 2013. Many Dinka in positions of power, such as former Jonglei Governor and later Minister of Defense, Kuol Manyang Juuk, long maintained a distance from localized conflict in Jonglei, apparently at a little political cost to themselves. As such, Jonglei state has been at war within itself perpetually.[58] At the same time, Pibor Administrative Area was descending into violent chaos that displaced nearly its entire population in mid-2013.[59] Governor Manyang emerged more powerful from President Kiir’s cabinet reshuffle, having been named the Senior Presidential Advisor on Security.

A reshuffling of authorities has not only taken place at the highest levels of government. Among the Nuer people, chiefs and spiritual leaders have historically held considerable authority, although the influence of at least some spiritual leaders is reportedly waning. For example, Dak Kueth is a noted “prophet” whose influence among the Lou Nuer is currently an open question. He was rumored to have instigated and led the White Army attack on Pibor in 2011 but then was said to be losing his power.[60] There have been numerous reports of his surrender to or alliance with the Government over the past several years, none of which has been born out. He was then said to be moving back and forth across the Ethiopian border from northern Jonglei state with the help of his supporters. During fieldwork with the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) among the Lou Nuer in early 2013, the author found widespread refusal to talk about him or even mention his name; a chief interviewed in Uror was quick to say, “There are no spiritual leaders here.” Only international actors would discuss him openly, noting that the Government was working to convince him to negotiate but that everyone claimed to be ignorant of his whereabouts. His role in mobilizing the White Army’s involvement in the violence of late 2013 and early 2014 is unknown.

The Murle, who recently acquired their own administrative region known as the Pibor Administrative Area (PAA), may be the most frequently mentioned yet misunderstood group in the internal tensions in Jonglei state. They are a far smaller group than the Dinka or the Nuer, with a total population of approximately 150,000, nearly all of whom live in (or have been displaced from) Pibor county, roughly contiguous with the current Administrative Area, in the southern part of the state. A Surmic people, who migrated relatively more recently into present-day South Sudan than the dominant Nilotic ethnic groups, they have historically been viewed as troublemakers or outsiders.[61] In contrast with their neighbors, they have a somewhat fragmented social structure in which the influence of elders and chiefs is limited and segregated “age-sets” compete for dominance. Those age-sets are led by “red chiefs,” responsible for communicating with God (Tammu), blessing crops and leading hunting/raiding parties, laying curses, and performing other spiritual practices. However, their authority appears to have significantly diminished among younger age-sets in recent years. These belligerent actors perpetuate hydro diplomacy in the Jonglei Canal project, thus fueling tensions among the locals. The ethnic groups described above are broad groups of complex networks of individuals and communities who may or may not have engaged in current or past violence. However, specific individuals and the groups they represented have played a significant role in Jonglei’s conflicts by capitalizing on the complex situation, as well as the shifting ethnic and political loyalties and dynamics described above.

Finding 7: Agreements to Manage the Jonglei Canal Project Have Largely Been Untenable

The shifting nature of water levels and quality, the tenuous nature of past agreements, and the temporary quality of power all raise the question of how tenable the current project proposed by the government of South Sudan really is in context.

The study found that, in line with to expectation, out of 350 respondents, 201 asserted that the agreements have not been realized, and the Jonglei canal crisis has continued unabated. 149 respondents reasoned that the agreements have in fact been tenable to a certain extent. The results are illustrated in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Responses to the inquiry: “Have the agreements to manage the Jonglei Canal project been tenable?”

Figure 7: Responses to the inquiry: “Have the agreements to manage
the Jonglei Canal project been tenable?”

Source: Field Data, 2021.


The use of the Nile River has been impacted by a variety of agreements from colonial times. Two treaties that are frequently cited in connection with water allocation and purported riparian rights are the 1959 “Agreement between the Republic of Sudan and the United Arab Republic of Egypt” and the 1929 “Exchange of Notes between His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Egyptian Government regarding the Use of the Waters of the River Nile for Irrigation Purposes,” both of which have been presented extensively above. However, the states that form the present-day Nile basin are divided over the agreements’ current standing.[62]

The main counter-hegemonic project, as part of current efforts at collaboration among riparian nations of the Nile River Basin, is the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI). It aims to jointly develop the river, share significant socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional security and peace. Other goals include hydroelectric power, water resource management, and agriculture. Members include the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Burundi, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. From December 6 to 8, 2009, the NBI celebrated its tenth anniversary.[63]

The NBI was founded by the water ministers of the nations that share the river, including Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the same time, Eritrea participates as an observer. The NBI also provides an institutional mechanism, a shared vision, and a set of agreed policy guidelines to offer a basin wide framework for cooperative action” and “seeks to develop the river in a cooperative manner, share substantial socioeconomic benefits, and promote regional peace and security.

The NBI Member States agreed to support the clear environmental functions of the future permanent Nile River Basin Organization, which include, among other things: harmonization of environmental management policies, data and information exchange, environmental impact assessment, policy, institutional, and legal analysis, and a coordinating role in climate change issues in the non-binding Khartoum Declaration, which was signed in November 2008 by the NBI Member States.

The Nile Basin Initiative’s objectives include formalizing the Nile Basin Initiative’s transformation into a permanent Nile River Basin Commission and creating a cooperation framework agreement (CFA) to replace former bilateral agreements. In April 2010, the CFA was made available for signing by seven governments from the Nile Basin. However, Sudan and Egypt claimed that the riparian nations should launch a presidential declaration to start the River Nile Basin Commission as negotiations on the CFA continue. Despite these disparities, the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement was formally made available for signing on May 14, 2010. The CFA was swiftly signed by Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, along with the DRC, which just recently joined its East African Community counterparts. However, South Sudan has yet to take a position on the NBI framework and should decide immediately whether to join its brethren in the East African Community or continue acquiescing to Sudan’s and Egypt’s interests in the hydro-politics of the Nile. South Sudan would then need to follow the East African Community’s lead to make its footprint and create a path for reclaiming its share of the Nile River’s water under the amended plan.

Part C—Conclusion and Recommendations


This study concludes that the nature of hydro-diplomacy is complex and multifaceted. Hydro-diplomacy has continued to raise hegemonic and counter-hegemonic questions as well as concerns over the long-term effects of completing the Jonglei Canal project on the ecology, and thus on the people, of the region. Therefore, this study concludes that even though Egypt has exhibited hegemonic superiority along the Nile River, effective water management requires taming the actors into cooperation. Riparian states must be prepared to rationalize and compromise their fundamental interests and prized goals reasonably. South Sudan should undertake construction of development dams in place of the Jonglei Canal Project.

Given the increased demand for water for agriculture, domestic usage, and energy production, this counter-hegemonic strategy is ideal and should be considered. Nevertheless, the author strongly advocates for South Sudanese ratification of the Comprehensive Framework Agreement and negotiate with the other riparian states to have them embrace the CFA in place of the earlier bilateral agreements to settle the complex and protracted riparian conflict. Cooperative use of the Nile River and other resources would be socioeconomically advantageous for the Nile Basin, ultimately promoting peace and security in the region.


The Nile basin is one of the world’s most impoverished areas, in considerable proportion. For this already-closed basin, a fundamental concern is a lack of water. Climate change variability makes the problem even more difficult. Therefore, the basin-based strategy is subordinate to the immediate national interests of the riparian nations. Due to the increasing influence of a new economic powerhouse, China, in the region, the Western donor community—particularly the United States, which was responsible for shepherding basin-wide cooperation into existence—is quickly losing its influence. The distribution of Nile water has only become even more complicated after the split in 2011 following a South Sudanese independence vote. Chinese investment is likely to be drawn to the oil riches in South Sudan, making the north more economically and hydrologically susceptible. The regime in Khartoum is adamantly opposed to the Common Framework Agreement in its current form and has begun working closely with its neighbor, Egypt, in preparation for this eventuality. The nations of the Nile basin have resumed taking opposing positions on the water after ten years of futile attempts to start cooperation. To address the difficulties posed by climate change, the significant riparian states of the Nile basin must give up their state-centric approach to water development and establish sustainable cooperation over the shared water. This study recommends that a dyadic and multilateral approach to riparian states be utilized. Therefore, a multi-sectoral approach to diplomacy is preferable for managing the Jonglei Canal project.

The author offers the following specific recommendations for water management in the Nile basin. The first is to annul the Nile Waters Agreement of 1959 and re-draft a binding agreement that incorporates all riparian states, giving proportional allocation of the Nile water based on geography while also including stipulations that recognize South Sudan as a region that requires special consideration as a distinct economic and cultural entity. The second is to fund the Jonglei Canal project through a collaborative approach involving riparian states and the international community, ensuring that all grassroots voices are heard and that South Sudan receives all benefits under the current Cooperative Framework Agreement. The third is to give the Nile Basin Initiative a larger mandate concerning managing the Nile Basin by making its policy findings legally binding to all riparian states. This could be a stipulation in the revised NWA mentioned in the first recommendation. The fourth is that South Sudan should re-launch constructing dam projects for power production and irrigation along the Nile. The fifth and final is that South Sudan should develop a flood mitigation plan and emergency response strategy to reduce the adverse impacts of flood hazards in flood-prone areas like the Upper Nile, Bahr El Ghazal regions, and parts of Central Equatoria state.

[i] Fisher et al., 1983, cited in Mugenda & Mugenda, Research Methods.

[ii] The SPLM is the political wing of the movement, while the militant wing is known as the SPLA. The combined movement is frequently referred to by the acronym SPLM/A or SPLA/M.

[1] John Garang de Mabior, “Identifying, Selecting and Implementing Rural Development Strategy for Socio-Economic Development in the Jonglei Project Area, Southern Region Sudan,” (PhD diss., Iowa State University, 1981, 1-292), bf23e6bf5717.

[2] Fred Pearce, “Will a Nile Canal Project Dry Up Africa’s Largest Wetland?” Yale Environment 360, June 28, 2022,

[3] Pearce, “Will a Nile Canal Project Dry Up Africa’s Largest Wetland?”

[4] John Waterbury, The Nile Basin: National Determinants of Collective Action (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

[5] Arun Elhance, Hydropolitics in the Third World: Conflict and Cooperation in International River Basins (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1999).

[6] Richard Meissner, “Water as a source of political conflict and cooperation: A comparative analysis of the situation in the Middle East and Southern Africa,” (MA diss., Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, South Africa, December 1998).

[7] Jakob Granit, Ana Cascao, Inga Jacobs, Christina Leb, Andreas Lindström, and Mara Tignino, “Regional Water Intelligence Report: The Nile Basin and the Southern Sudan Referendum,” Stockholm International Water Institute, December 2010,

[8] Granit et al., “Regional Water Intelligence Report.”

[9] Jan Hultin, “The Nile: Source of Life, Source of Conflict,” in Hydropolitics: Conflicts over Water as a Development Constraint, ed. Leif Ohlsson (London: Zed Books Ltd., 1995).

[10] J. M. Verweij, “Application of fluid flow systems analysis to reconstruct the post-Carboniferous hydrogeohistory of the onshore and offshore Netherlands,” Marine and Petroleum Geology 16, no. 6 (1999): 561-579.

[11] Ine Frijters and Jan Leentvaar, “Rhine Case Study Technical Documents in Hydrology,” Technical documents in hydrology: PC-CP series no. 17, UNESCO International Hydrological Program, https://unesdoc.

[12] Frijters and Leentvaar, “Rhine Case Study Technical Documents in Hydrology.”

[13] Robert Collins, The Nile (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002).

[14] Waterbury, The Nile Basin.

[15] Salman M. A. Salman, “Water Resources in the Sudan North-South Peace Process and the Ramifications of the Secession of South Sudan,” in Water and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, ed. Erika Weinthal, Jessica J. Troell, and Mikiyasu Nakayama (London: Routledge, 2014).

[16] Collins, The Nile.

[17] Fadwa Rahman Ali Taha, “Between past, present and future: the Sudan’s role as a middle-stream country,” International Journal of African Renaissance Studies - Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity 5, no. 1 (2010): 5-18.

[18] Taha, “Between past, present and future.”

[19] Collins, The Nile.

[20] Fadwa Rahman Ali Taha, “Between past, present and future: the Sudan’s role as a middle-stream country,” International Journal of African Renaissance Studies - Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity 5, no. 1 (2010): 5-18.

[21] Taha, “Between past, present and future.”

[22] Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, “The Interpretation of the 1929 Treaty and its Legal Relevance and Implications for the Stability of the Region,” African Sociological Review / Revue Africaine de Sociologie 11, no. 1 (2007): 10-24.

[23] Mohammed Mahmoud Pacha, “Exchange of Notes Between His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the Egyptian Government in Regard to the Waters of the River Nile for the Irrigation Purpose,” May 7, 1929, Nile_Agreement-1929.html.

[24] Terje Tvedt, The River Nile in the Age of the British: Political Ecology And The Quest For Economic Power (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 2006).

[25] Tvedt, The River Nile in the Age of the British.

[26] Al-Jazeera, “Struggle Over the Nile: Source of Life, Source of Conflict,” Al-Jazeera, https://www.

[27] Al-Jazeera, “Struggle Over the Nile.”

[28] Salman, “Water Resources in the Sudan North-South Peace Process.”

[29] Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), “Meeting Current and Future Water Demands,”

[30] Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (London: Lawrence and Wishert, 1971).

[31] Hans Morgenthau and Kenneth W. Thomson, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace (New Delhi: Kalyan Publishers, 2018).

[32] Olive Mugenda and Abel G. Mugenda, Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches (Nairobi, Kenya: African Centre for Technology Studies, 1999).

[33] Charles H. Busaha and Stephen P. Harter, Research Methods in Librarianship: Techniques and Interpretations (New York: Academic Press, 1980).

[34] Collins, The Nile.

[35] Tvedt, The River Nile in the Age of the British.

[36] Wondwosen Michago Seide, “Hydro-mentality over the Nile,” Global Water Forum, February 16, 2015,

[37] Seide, “Hydro-mentality over the Nile.”

[38] Tvedt, The River Nile in the Age of the British.

[39] Mark Zeitoun and Jeroen Warner, “Hydro-hegemony – a framework for analysis of trans-boundary water conflicts,” Water Policy 8, no. 5 (2006): 435–460.

[40] Arthur Okoth-Owiro, The Nile Treaty: State Succession and International Treaty Commitments, a Case Study of the Nile Water Treaties (Nairobi, Kenya: Konrad Adenauer Foundation: Law and Policy Research Foundation, 2004).

[41] Patricia Kameri-Mbote, “Water, Conflict, and Cooperation: Lessons from the Nile River Basin No. 4,” Navigating Peace: Water, Conflict, and Cooperation, January 2007, water-conflict-and-cooperation-lessons-the-nile-river-basin-no-4.

[42] Jan Selby, “The Geopolitics of Water in the Middle East: Fantasies and Realities,” Third World Quarterly 26, no. 2 (2005): 329-349.

[43] Taha, “Between past, present and future.”

[44] Taha, “Between past, present and future.”

[45] Taha, “Between past, present and future.”

[46] Tvedt, The River Nile in the Age of the British.

[47] Collins, The Nile.

[48] Collins, The Nile.

[49] Selby, “The Geopolitics of Water in the Middle East.”

[50] Selby, “The Geopolitics of Water in the Middle East.”

[51] Elhance, Hydropolitics in the Third World.

[52] Mareike Schomerus and Tim Allen, Southern Sudan at odds with itself: Dynamics of conflict and predicaments of peace (London: London School of Economics DESTIN Development Studies Institute, 2010).

[53] Schomerus and Allen, Southern Sudan at odds with itself, 20.

[54] Ann Laudati, “Victims of Discourse: Mobilizing Narratives of Fear and Insecurity in Post-Conflict South Sudan—The Case of Jonglei State,” African Geographical Review 30, no. 1 (2011): 15-32.

[55] Stephanie F. Beswick, “Violence, Ethnicity and Political Consolidation in South Sudan: A History of the Dinka and Their Relations with Their Neighbors” (PhD diss., Michigan State University, 1998).

[56] Human Rights Watch, “They Are Killing Us: Abuses against Civilians in South Sudan’s Pibor County,” September 12, 2013,

[57] Abraham Awolich and Zachariah Diing Akol, “The SPLM Leadership Contest: An Opportunity for Change or a Crisis of Governance?” Sudd Institute, Juba, 2013,

[58] James Maker Atem and Ferdinand Nabiswa, “Efficacy of Dispute Resolution Process among Ethnic Groups within Jonglei State of South Sudan,” International Journal of Management and Commerce Innovations 4, no. 2 (October 2016-March 2017): 604-608,

[59] Human Rights Watch, “They Are Killing Us.”

[60] Small Arms Survey, “My neighbor, my enemy: Inter-tribal violence in Jonglei,” sudan issue brief Human Security Baseline Assessment 21 (October 2012).

[61] Jon Arensen, “Murle Political Systems and Age-sets,” (Jonglei Conference, Nairobi, Kenya, March 19-21, 2012).

[62] Okoth-Owiro, The Nile Treaty.

[63] Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), “Meeting Current and Future Water Demands.”