Water resources deficit in Egypt amounts to 56 billion cubic metres annually

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The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel-Aty, revealed that his country’s water resources deficit is estimated at 56 billion cubic metres annually.

In a meeting with several conservative representatives and members of parliament, he said that the total water needs in Egypt are about 114 billion cubic metres annually. In comparison, the water resources are currently estimated at 60 billion cubic metres annually.

Abdel-Aty pointed out that most of Egypt’s resources come from the waters of the Nile River, in addition to minimal amounts of rainwater and the deep groundwater in the deserts. He pointed out that compensating this gap is through reusing agricultural drainage water and surface groundwater in the valley and delta, with an annual amount of 34 billion cubic metres of water and importing food products from abroad.

He explained that Egypt is currently working on implementing waterway purification projects because the challenges facing the water sector in Egypt are great, on top of which is the population increase, he said. He added that the state had prepared a strategy for water resources until 2050, at a cost of up to EGP 900 billion, and a national plan for water resources until 2037. He explained that the plan relies on four axes including rationalising water use, improving its quality, providing additional water sources, and creating a climate for optimal water management.

The repeated talk from Egyptian officials about severe water poverty in Egypt and the shortage of water resources comes amid the failure of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations and Ethiopia’s insistence on the second filling of the dam’s reservoir in July.

Two days ago, former Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy, described a military clash between his country and Ethiopia, which is building the GERD on the Blue Nile, as inevitable.