CAIRO – Egypt’s per capita share of water declined to 570 cm3 per year in 2018, below the international standards of 1000 m3/year, said Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atti in his speech at the opening session of the first Cairo Water Week (CWW) on Sunday.
He attributed the decline to the limited quantity of available water resources, adding that Egypt’s water resources come from outside its borders.
“Amid the growing water shortage, the state is trying to reduce the gap between water resources and the mounting consumption through [using] treated water, which represents 25 percent of current use,” Abdel Atti said, reaffirming that million Egyptian farmers would lose their source of livelihood if the rate of renewable water decreases by 2 percent.
African participants at the first Cairo Water Week- Press photo
The Minister added that Egypt’s delta faces a serious challenge as it is being eroded due to sea level rise, noting that this challenge will affect agriculture in the North Delta.
“Increasing water poverty rate in Egypt is one of the most significant impacts of climate change, with an expectation of increasing water demand by 20 percent by 2020,” the minister continued.
The government has adopted a national strategy, at a cost of $50 billion, to mitigate the climate change impacts on the water sector.
Egypt’s first Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off on Sunday under the auspices of President Sisi, aiming at increasing the public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid state of water shortage.
The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.
The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.
On the sidelines of the CWW, the African Young Water Professionals Forum was held, gathering 24 young people from 12 African countries of Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Ghana , and Morocco.
Meanwhile, the fourth session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers, held on Sunday, Oct. 14 on the sidelines of the CWW.
Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli also inaugurated the opening ceremony, praising the conference as it sheds lights on the significance of water rationalization worldwide. He also welcomed the participants.