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Egypt taking more steps to rationalising water usage

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on 25 May 2019 [MICHELE SPATARI/AFP/Getty Images]
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on 25 May 2019 [MICHELE SPATARI/AFP/Getty Images]

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly stressed the need to urge citizens to rationalising water consumption.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation has previously announced that Egypt suffers from a water deficit of 54 billion cubic metres, stressing that the country depends on the River Nile for 97 per cent of its water needs of about 114 billion cubic metres. Its resources, however, do not exceed 60 billion cubic metres.

During a seminar at Cairo University, Minister Mohamed Abdel Aty explained that filling this gap is done by rationalising water use, maximising the return of water, improving the management of the water system and establishing triple water treatment plants.

Last October, Abdel Aty confirmed that the decline in the River Nile's levels were as a result of Ethiopia's unilateral measures to fill and operate its Renaissance Dam. He pointed out that Egypt has prepared a 20-year national plan, extending from 2017 to 2037, at a cost ranging between $50-100 billion, to establish dual and triple water treatment plants, improve the efficiency of irrigation systems and to reduce the expected deficit in the per capita share of water.

He announced that Egypt suffers from a water deficit estimated at 90 per cent of its renewable resources and is reusing about 35 per cent of those resources to fill the gap.

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During the United Nations General Assembly last September, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said that "Egypt is one of the driest countries", describing the River Nile as the country's only lifeline.

Ethiopia had announced the completion of the second filling process of the Renaissance Dam on 19 July. It also confirmed that it intends to generate electricity from the dam's turbines and is preparing to start this within months.

Cairo wants Ethiopia to guarantee Egypt will receive 40 billion cubic metres or more of water from the Nile. Ethiopian Irrigation Minister Seleshi Bekele said Egypt has abandoned this demand, but Egypt insists it hasn't and issued a statement to this effect.

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