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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.

 

 

By A’laa Koddous Allah

As you walk to work, or home from work, in the summer’s heat, you long for a glass of cold water. In the past, charitable people used to put ulal, pottery containers with water in the streets for people needing to quench their thirst. Today the public water cooler is replacing the ulla.

The water cooler, however, is no more hygienic than its pottery predecessor and it has added dangers. The coolers are usually placed near mosques, churches and schools to ensure many people use them.

“Unfortunately the people connecting the coolers to the power source – and they are illegally taking electricity from the street lamp post – cannot do it professionally,” Saeed Hafez, an industrial security expert, told a local news outlet.

“So they make mistakes. They leave wires uncovered and this can lead to death and fires as well.” Several people have died, electrocuted while taking a cup of water from these coolers.

Last month an 11-year-old child died from an electricity shock while taking a cup of water from a public water cooler in Sohag.

“These coolers should be safe for use,” Hafez said. “They must be installed by a specialist and there should be periodic maintenance of them, which is something nobody ever does.

“The result of lack of maintenance is that the water in the coolers develops bacteria, making it no good for drinking.”

Dr. Mohamed Fadl, Professor of Internal Medicine, Zagazig University, said: “The storage of water for more than five hours leads to decomposition and this can cause diseases of the liver and kidneys as well as typhoid. Just one cup of water from these coolers can kill.”

Two months ago, a five-year-old girl died of typhoid after she had drunk from a cooler in a Beni Sueif village. “There are several safety measures that must be taken in to account when connecting up a new cooler,” Mohamed Ragab, owner of a shop for water coolers, said. “The most important thing to watch out for is that the Freon gas is not leaking, this is the main cause of fires.”

He said that as soon as a cooler begins to work, the water tastes very good, but as time passes, its taste changes due to lack of maintenance.

“Public water coolers could be very helpful if they were used as they should be,” he said. “People should be aware of the disadvantages if they are not maintained.”

 

Gazette Staff


CAIRO, April 22, 2018 – Egypt's House of Deputies (the parliament) preliminarily approved on Sunday, amendments to a draft law banning the planting of certain water-thirsty crops in particular areas, in order to preserve water and rationalise its consumption.


The law allows the Egyptian minister of agriculture to coordinate with the minister of water resources and irrigation over issuing a decision to determine where certain agricultural crops can be grown, in order to maintain the quality of the land.


The draft law also gave the minister of agriculture the power to toughen penalties and increase fines against farmers who violate the law.
The law asserts the importance of organising the growing of various crops in order to preserve the fertility and quality of agricultural land, preserve water resources and water quality, reduce agricultural costs and limit the wasting of water.


During the parliamentary session on Sunday, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that Egypt was suffering from a shortage of water, which meant that the growing of crops needed to be rationalised. Speaker Abdel Aal added that the planting of crops that need a lot of water will be reconsidered in order to rationalise the consumption of water.

CAIRO, April 19, 2018 (MENA) - Prime Minister Sherif Ismail held a meeting Thursday with Planning, Follow-up and Administrative Reform Minister Hala el Saed to discuss upgrading services to improve livelihoods and the quality of life for citizens.

During the meeting which was attended by senior cadres of Saed's ministry, she briefed the premier on the measures taken so far to improve public services and utilities and advance the national economic, social and environmental development process.

Ismail gave directives to pay special attention to the Upper Egyptian and border governorates via encouraging investments directed to drinking water, sanitation, electricity and road projects.

Saed said that investments in the Upper Egyptian governorates under the next national plan will cost EGP 10 billion.

The premier stressed the importance of following up growth in the industrial sector because it is one of the vital sectors that provide job opportunities and pushes forward the the economic and social development wheel.

By Amira Sayed

The limited nature of water resources has brought water to the top of the agenda of decision- makers, not only in Egypt but also in many other parts of the world. Bearing in mind how urbanisation, pollution, growing populations, poor management and climate change are increasing the stress on water, both developed and developing countries are racing against time to reach an integrated water management system in the hope of meeting the soaring water challenges.
According to the United Nations, more than two billion people all over the world lack access to safe water while more than 4.5 billion people lack appropriate sanitation services.
"By 2050, at least one in four people will live in a country where the lack of fresh water will be chronic or recurrent," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned.
In the light of these alarming figures which indicate that water is becoming scarcer and more polluted, all the international water organisations have stressed that an integrated water approach and water-sharing in trans-boundary river basins are inevitable to achieve water security and sustainable development.
That was why "Sharing Water" was the overarching theme of the world's biggest water-related event, namely the 8th World Water Forum held in Brazil, from March 18-23.
A co-operative management framework is even more important in Africa where five river basins: the Congo, Niger, Nile, Rhine and Zambezi, are shared by 9 to11 countries.
"Departure from the status quo to an innovative system which is able to respond to present needs and expectations is necessary to reach water security," Karin Krchnak, a senior member of the World Water Council (WWC), told The Egyptian Gazette at a press conference in Brazil last month. The WWC is an international multi-stakeholder platform organisation whose aim is to mobilise action on critical water issues.
Regarding the role of the WWC in helping Nile basin countries reach a compromise in the current discussions related to the establishment of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and in the light of the anticipated decline in Egypt's share of the River Nile, Krchnak pointed out that water scarcity was a challenge, not only in Africa but in the whole world. "Hence, dialogue is the key path to reaching and sustaining water security besides providing robust solutions, at a time of growing water uncertainties and disparities," she told the Gazette.
A senior official at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Ruhiza Jean Broto, told this paper that water was now a problem, due to its finite nature on Earth, but it could be a solution if all countries put aside disputes and brought their water policies closer.
"Water scarcity is a global challenge. The scarcity creates room for discussion on how to improve water management," said Broto, who is the FAO’s senior land and water officer.
Broto underlined the social consequences of water shortage and highlighted the link between water stress and migratory movements globally. According to many studies, water scarcity on a larger scale has increased migration rates in many parts of the world, he added.
"We, at the FAO, do not make decisions. We just hold discussions and make recommendations that would help policy-makers improve their water management systems worldwide. We also focus on raising public awareness of the global water hurdles with the aim of helping all countries reach water security," he said.
Speaking to The Gazette, Claudia Mora Pineda, a senior member of the High-Level Global Panel on Water and Peace (HLPW), said that policy-makers should speak from the heart to reach appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks for water-related issues.
"My country, like your country, is facing numerous water challenges. The whole world is facing water scarcity; this requires collaborative work and decisive action rather than the formulation of concepts," she said.
The HLPW was launched on November 16, 2015 in Geneva, with the aim of providing a set of proposals to strengthen the global framework for preventing and resolving water-related conflicts.
"As most of the world's water is shared, policy-makers should deal with water issues from a regional perspective," she concluded.

CAIRO, April 2, 2018 - Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Ati, stated on Monday that the country resorts to two main approaches to address water shortage: imports and water recycling.

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce, Minister Abdel Ati said the government imports wheat and some goods with the key aim of saving water used in agriculture, bearing in mind that agriculture is the largest water consumer in Egypt. He, meanwhile, pointed out that Egypt is the world's second largest country and Africa's only country in recycling and reusing water.

Regarding water consumption, the minister said that Egypt's water consumption has reached 80 billion cubic metres per year, including 55 billion cubic metres from the River Nile. The ministry deal with this water deficit by recycling and reusing water.

In a related context, the minister referred to the anticipated ministerial meeting in Sudan on Wednesday to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) issue, adding the negotiations are expected to resume once the new Ethiopian government is formed.

The minister, meanwhile, emphasised that Egypt is not against the development efforts in Sudan and Ethiopia, underlining the necessity to give the water issue a top priority since it is considered a national security issue. The countries plagued with terror groups or witness crisis such as Darfur crisis in Sudan are suffering from water shortage.

" Losing 2 per cent of Egypt's water , which is equivalent to one million cubic metre, means that 200,000 families would lose their jobs, making them more exposed to extremism," the minister added.

The minister's speech also highlighted the ministry's investment strategy in water sector during the period 2017-2037 with total investments of LE900 billion.  In another development, the minister presented the ministry's water strategy 2050 which rely on four aspects: Purification, rationalisation, development of water resources and public awareness.

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