The world's longest river is a source of sustenance for almost 400 million people. But it is also a source of tension.

These tensions have their roots in the 19th century. The colonial decisions of the past are a point of bitter dispute today.

"When the British took control of Egypt in 1882 they very soon realised that they had become rulers of a society totally dependent upon the Nile. So they understood from the very beginning that the economic development and political stability of Egypt depended upon [control of] the Nile," says Professor Terje Tvedt, geographer.

And new political realities on the ground are increasing the sense of uncertainty over who owns the River Nile.

The second episode of the three-part Struggle Over the Nile series examines the historical fascination with the Nile and the forces that shaped the way it is used today.

"All the time they walk out, but they still come back ... because there is no other source that they can be able to use ... and what we have been telling them, the only simple way is cooperation .... I think even in marriage if the husband and wife cannot talk, then there will be no cooperation in that house ... if one runs away, the night will come and [they] will still have to come back ... and they will have to sit at a table and negotiate and see what the problem is," says John Nyaoro, Kenyan director of water resources.

Source: Al Jazeera