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A Matter of life and death

Sun, June 10, 2018 09:25

Officials have been warning that the country has reached the stage of water scarcity. And it is no secret that large amounts of water are being wasted for household, agricultural and other purposes.

The government has indeed been taking measures in an attempt to bring down the rate of water usage, but everyday life shows that the people's consumption patterns need to change.

The government last year submitted to parliament a bill, which has become law, to regulate potable and sanitary water which included penalties on various forms of water misuse.

Cairo Governorate has taken an initiative to curb excessive use of water. It has made it clear that washing cars in the street or spraying the streets themselves with water (which many citizens believe settles the dust and cools the atmosphere) can cost those who do so hefty fines.

The government has also taken strict measures to cut the cultivation of water-intensive crops in a bid to conserve Nile water.  Fines have been increased for illegal rice cultivation, as the Ministry of Agriculture reduced the total area to be cultivated in rice, and started importing the grain to bridge the gap between local supply and demand.

In the case of water rationalisation, however, laws should not be the only way to achieve the target. Many citizens might not be informed about the new laws in this connection, although they are aware, theoretically speaking, of the country's water shortage. But are they doing anything to change this fact?

The bodies concerned are required to launch awareness campaigns. This should be done not only via media outlets, but also as part of a national mission undertaken by social, religious and educational institutions.

The people's inherited notion about the Nile being an inexhaustible source should be redressed.Overpopulation is already consuming a great deal of the country's water resources, leaving aside, for the moment, concerns about any possible technical mismanagement of the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which would affect Egypt's share of the Nile water.

The law should not only be applied to individuals but to violating institutions and projects. It must be said that it would be unfair to ask citizens to use less water and farmers to reduce rice-cultivated areas when posh real estate projects, for instance, are building more golf courses!

A country that is struggling to achieve sustainable development, despite a looming stage of water scarcity, should mobilise its efforts, on the official and popular levels to rationalise the use of water to save every drop for designated purposes. And the state should adopt a fixed water policy that carries a clear-cut message to the entire society.

 

 

By the Gazette Editorial Board

Officials have been warning that the country has reached the stage of water scarcity. And it is no secret that large amounts of water are being wasted for household, agricultural and other purposes.

The government has indeed been taking measures in an attempt to bring down the rate of water usage, but everyday life shows that the people's consumption patterns need to change.

The government last year submitted to parliament a bill, which has become law, to regulate potable and sanitary water which included penalties on various forms of water misuse.

Cairo Governorate has taken an initiative to curb excessive use of water. It has made it clear that washing cars in the street or spraying the streets themselves with water (which many citizens believe settles the dust and cools the atmosphere) can cost those who do so hefty fines.

The government has also taken strict measures to cut the cultivation of water-intensive crops in a bid to conserve Nile water.  Fines have been increased for illegal rice cultivation, as the Ministry of Agriculture reduced the total area to be cultivated in rice, and started importing the grain to bridge the gap between local supply and demand.

In the case of water rationalisation, however, laws should not be the only way to achieve the target. Many citizens might not be informed about the new laws in this connection, although they are aware, theoretically speaking, of the country's water shortage. But are they doing anything to change this fact?

The bodies concerned are required to launch awareness campaigns. This should be done not only via media outlets, but also as part of a national mission undertaken by social, religious and educational institutions.

The people's inherited notion about the Nile being an inexhaustible source should be redressed.Overpopulation is already consuming a great deal of the country's water resources, leaving aside, for the moment, concerns about any possible technical mismanagement of the new Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which would affect Egypt's share of the Nile water.

The law should not only be applied to individuals but to violating institutions and projects. It must be said that it would be unfair to ask citizens to use less water and farmers to reduce rice-cultivated areas when posh real estate projects, for instance, are building more golf courses!

A country that is struggling to achieve sustainable development, despite a looming stage of water scarcity, should mobilise its efforts, on the official and popular levels to rationalise the use of water to save every drop for designated purposes. And the state should adopt a fixed water policy that carries a clear-cut message to the entire society.

 

 

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