What Is The Nile River Used For Today


The Nile River is the longest river in the world, stretching 4,000 miles long in an arc shape. It originates in the lakes of the African Great Rift Valley, runs through Egypt and into the Mediterranean Sea. Flowing through ten countries, the Nile is a crucial resource and lifeline for many of its countries, thirsty for irrigated land and water.

The Nile River is used for irrigation, sustainability and fisheries. Irrigation is an important aspect for agricultural production as 93 million acres of land along the river and its tributaries are irrigated. Through flooding and flood control, river levels are managed to sustain crops, vegetables, and grains. The crops and vegetables are used to meet a vast majority of the people’s daily food needs.

The Nile River is also a source of sustainability. Studies have revealed that the use of fertilizer and water along the Nile are contributing to global warming. The Nile Delta contains 4 million acres of wetlands and marshlands, which release an abundant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Research has found that the rising of sea levels and temperatures around the 250 kilometer stretch are affecting towns and villages in the area.

Fisheries, another use of the Nile River, are of significant importance in terms of nutritional value and can be found by the thousands all along the river. These include marine fish such as Catfish and Tilapia, and freshwater fish such as Lungfish and Perch. Fishing is regulated and monitored by the local and national governments, due to the sustainability practices required for a healthy ecosystem.

Protected Areas

To protect the river, local and national governments have designated certain areas as protected zones, where there is installed infrastructure such as dams, locks and sluices. This protects and preserves the natural environment of the river, while still allowing everyday activities such as fishing, transportation and irrigation.

In addition to this, the Nile Delta is one of the most important biodiversity hot spots, with 22 species and subspecies of mammals, 24 types of reptiles, 2 amphibians and over 300 species of birds. The land is also home to mangroves, hippopotamuses, gazelles and crocodiles. The region is keenly guarded for its biodiversity, and any kind of development is strictly monitored and kept to an absolute minimum.

Furthermore, the people this region have been granted protection from the governments, with their land and water rights specified across the Delta. Political stability, especially in Egypt, is high due to the benefits of the Nile River, such as hydropower, transportation, water and biodiversity. Without strict measures of protection, the region could suffer from increased pollution as well as irreversible damage.

Impact of Tourism

Tourism has been the primary economic driver in the area, and with over 5 million tourists visiting annually, it’s easy to see why. Not only has the region seen dramatic improvements in infrastructure, such as highways, airports and railroads, but the development of eco-tourism and the contribution of over 500,000 jobs has been monumental.

In anticipation of the 2030 target to increase eco-tourism, the number of visitors reaching Nile Delta is expected to soar. Thus, in preparation, local businesses have been making significant investments in the tourism sector, creating canals, marinas, resorts and boat tours. Despite the economic benefit that tourism has bought, it can also have a negative impact on the environment in terms of noise and light pollution, damage to the natural beauty, and overcrowding of the boat tours.

Public Health

The Nile River has been blessed with abundant supplies of water, however, it certainly faces its own health risks. The river is subjected to untreated sewage and various forms of human waste, causing damaging consequences for human health. Currently, the lack of wastewater treatment and sewage infrastructure has caused an increase in water-borne illnesses, highly evident in the rural parts of the delta.

Furthermore, the quality of drinking water in the region is extremely low. The government has recently began a campaign, ‘Clean Water’, which plans to build 150 new water improvement areas by 2025. This will hopefully improve public health and reduce the influx of water-borne diseases. Additionally, the Nile also faces threats from industrial waste and agricultural runoff, both of which continue to rise.

Impact of Infrastructure

The Nile Delta is home to one of the most crucial infrastructures on the river, the Aswan High Dam. Built in the 1960s to control and regulate the Nile’s water levels, the dam generates over 1500 megawatts of hydroelectric power. This has revolutionised energy production in the region and has allowed for much faster economic and industrial growth.

In spite of its successes, the dam has come at a grave cost due to its negative impact on the environment and society. Along with a decline in wetland habitats, the Aswan has caused a disruption to the fish resources due to massive water withdrawals and adverse temperatures within the reservoir. Additionally, villages along the river were also convinced to relocate, leading to a widespread feeling of loss and resentment among the locals.

Regional Relations

The upstream countries of the river face severe shortages of water due to the large diversions made by the lower countries, such as Egypt. In order to keep the Nile alive, the Nile Basin Initiative has been formed, an intergovernmental organisation of 11 countries that work to manage and sustain the river. However, its effectiveness can be questioned, as some of the countries are politically unstable or economically weak.

To help tackle this, organisations such as the African Development Global Water Programme and UNESCO have been working with the local governments to improve data collection, policy making, and access to resources. These projects should help make the Nile a prosperous and sustainable resource for generations to come.

Banking and Trade

Banking and trade are critically important to the countries of the Nile River. Tiny villages rely heavily on trading and banking in order to survive – the entire global economy of the countries depends on the river. Millions of people use its banks to store money and trade crops and livestock, thereby helping locals to provide for their communities.

The river also serves as a unique and important source of transportation for goods, allowing for trade between the various countries along the river. Goods that are typically transported include oil and natural gas, but also everyday items such as food and tea. The Nile banks also provide fertile soil for farmers, to be used for growing food for the people.

The connection between the countries is so important that even in times of conflict, the Nile is still used to transport goods from Egypt to the Red Sea. This is essential in keeping the economies alive and helping to ensure the livelihood of entire communities.


One of the most important aspects of the Nile River is hydropower. With 20 of the 30 largest hydropower dams in Africa located along the river and tributaries, the river is a reliable source of energy. With the rise of climate change and the need for sustainable solutions, hydropower is becoming ever more important. As such, the potential for it to play a much larger role in the economy of the region is growing.

The Aswan Dam has already revolutionised energy production but more investment is needed for further development. Fully exploit the potential of the river and the region will have a stable and sustainable source of energy. This could open the door for further economic growth, as energy from the river could be utilised to power factories, industry and transport.

The Nile River is a vital resource for those countries that it flows through. Irrigation, sustainability, fisheries and hydroelectricity are just some of the ways that the river is used for today, and these are all integral for the people that it serves. Much groundwork has been done in the past but there is much left to do in order to ensure a safer and healthier future for everyone.

Raymond Strasser is a passion-driven writer and researcher, dedicated to educating readers on the topic of world rivers. With a background in Geography and Environmental Studies, Raymond provides insightful pieces which explore the impact and importance that rivers have around the world.

Leave a Comment