The Nile, roughly the size of India, is the longest river on earth, and meanders through a watershed that is more than 30% arid.
The Nile River-Lake Victoria basin falls within 10 countries (Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea). The longer of 2 branches, the White Nile, extends from the mountains east of Lake Tanganyika, through Lake Victoria, to the Nile delta at the Mediterranean Sea. The shorter branch, the Blue Nile, springs from the Ethiopian Highlands, joining the longer branch in central Sudan, and contributes the majority of water entering Egypt.
People have been farming intensively in the Nile river basin for more than 5,000 years. Today, there are 25 large cities with more than 100,000 people. The Nile delta is home to virtually all of Egypt's 78 million people, where the average population density ranges from 1,000 person/Km2
to much higher in major cities, such as Cairo.
Although the water supply per person is currently ample, the Nile is 1 of 6 river basins in the world with a projected population exceeding 10 million that is predicted to face water scarcity by 2025.
The Nile river basin is home to a bountiful array of biodiversity including 137 amphibian species, 69 wetlands that are important bird areas (IBAs), and 5 areas supporting birds found nowhere else in the world. The Nile delta is one of the world's most important bird migration routes and is a breeding ground for 2 endangered marine turtles, the Loggerhead
and the Green Turtle
The Nile River alone supports 129 fish species, of which 26 are located only in this watershed. Lake Victoria sustains a remarkable 343 fish species and 309 endemic fish species, which make it the highest globally in both categories.
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