This story was originally published by Yale Environment 360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Seen from space, the Sudd swamp is a giant green smudge where the White Nile, one of the great river’s two main branches, spreads out across flat arid land, forming myriad back channels that are often covered in floating vegetation. Africa’s largest freshwater wetland permanently occupies roughly 3,500 square miles in an otherwise dry region of South Sudan and floods up to 10 times more in the wet season.
But now the Sudd is under threat of being turned to desert by the revival of a half-completed engineering megaproject that would divert the Nile River away from the wetland and shorten its route north to the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt, which sponsored the original ill-fated Jonglei Canal project 40 years ago, is set to fund the scheme, which would reduce evaporation from the swamp, and so deliver water downstream to its reservoirs. Ministers in the South Sudan government hope the canal will also reduce flooding around the swamp, which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee... Read more