The Holding Company for Water & Wastewater (HCWW) is currently negotiating with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to finance the wastewater project and the restoration of Lake Qaroun at a cost of €300m.
Mamdouh Raslan, chairperson of HCWW, said that the project aims to build a number of new sewage stations in the surrounding areas of Lake Qaroun, along with the maintenance and expansion of old stations to prevent sewage from mixing with the lake waters, which contributes to improving the water quality and the ecosystem in the lake, in addition to encouraging tourism.
He added that a tender will be posed to choose a consultant for the project within two months. This consultant will prepare technical and financial feasibility studies and review the specifications and standards for the implementation of the project. The project will be established within five years.
He explained that the problem of sewage is one of the most important problems of the development of Lake Qaroun, which is one of the most important tourist attractions in Egypt. He added that the lake generates about 800,000 tonnes of salt annually, 300,000 tonnes of which are extracted, while there is ongoing coordination with a major company to establish a plant to extract yet more salt from the lake.
Raslan said that 85% of villages nationwide need sewage networks at a cost of up to EGP 200bn.
The HCWW has received several external loans from international bodies to improve drinking water and sanitation services, including the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the French Development Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
He pointed out that 85% of drinking water is sourced from the Nile, 14% from underground resources, and 1% from desalination plants, adding that the company is implementing a EGP 1bn project to replace and renew the water pipeline.
He pointed out that the quality of the drinking water in Egypt is on the top of the government’s priorities, adding that several laboratories and quality control facilities have recently been established under the supervision of the ministries of housing, health, irrigation, and environment.