Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Baha’a El-Din asserted on Thursday that Egypt is committed to fair and equal use of water from the river Nile.
Speaking at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation’s annual World Water Day event under the name of “Cooperation for Water”, Baha’a El-Din said that Egypt’s stance is consistent with the fair and equal usage of the water from the Nile Basin, according to state-run media agency MENA.
Baha’a El-Din pointed out that water distribution must take into account surface water and heavy rainfall in the upstream countries. He also highlighted that it is important to recognise all the uses of water, including drinking, industrial and agricultural needs.
The minister also warned that due to the population increase in Egypt, the water share per capita would fall from the current level of 640 cubic metres to 370 cubic metres by 2050. He added that the ministry has a plan for managing Egypt’s water resources until 2050.
Baha’a El-Din stressed that Egypt is willing to work with the other countries in the Nile Basin and develop a strategy to benefit all parties involved and to assist in development projects in these countries. The minister pointed out that in recent years Egypt has provided $26.6m to Sudan, $20.4m to Uganda and has helped to pay for 100 water wells in Tanzania at a cost of $6m. He added that a deal was signed to provide the Democratic Republic of Congo with $10.5m over five years to assist with the management of water resources.
Egypt has long received the largest share of the water from the Nile, as per agreements signed in 1929 and 1959 which has guaranteed Egypt 55.5bn cubic metres annually, of the estimated total of 84bn cubic metres.
Egypt has held a number of important meetings and consultations on the issue, including talks with Burundi and Sudan. In January, Egypt refused to sign the Entebbe agreement with other Nile-basin countries. Baha’a El-Din claimed that it was not suitable for downstream countries like Egypt.