The fourth edition of Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off in Cairo on Sunday for five days from 24 to 28 October 2021 under the theme: “Water, Population and Global Change: Challenges and Opportunities”. The week is organised by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
In the plenary session, Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aty delivered a speech on behalf of the Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, in which he pointed out that the world has realised that water means life and it is the mainstay of sustainable development but at the same time it is one of the most important challenges facing us.
These challenges include climate change, rapid urbanisation, high rates of population increase, migration and instability in some countries, in addition to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Abdel Aty added.
The Irrigation Minister pointed out the importance of concerted global efforts to deal with the challenges related to the most scarce and most important resource ever, which is water. “Without this cooperation, no country will be able to face these challenges alone because we live in one world and a common destiny.”
He further explained that Egypt suffers from a water deficit of 90% of its renewable resources and it reuses 35% of those resources to bridge the water gap. Egypt is also one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate changes such as sea-level rise, which may expose a third of the Nile delta to drowning or change the Nile River’s flow.
ِEgypt has implemented many major national projects and the use of modern technology in water management, within the framework of implementing its national plan for water resources. The plan is based on four pillars: improving water quality, rationalising water uses, developing water resources and creating the appropriate environment for the implementation of this plan.
Abdel Aty pointed out that Egypt is keen to enhance cooperation with all countries, especially African countries. He indicated that Egypt is implementing many development projects in these countries and is providing many training courses in the field of water.
Moreover, the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi delivered a speech during the opening day of the conference. He stated that the EU has provided support to help improve the quality of life for Egyptian people, by expanding water and wastewater coverage and enhancing the quality of water resources.
“In practical terms, we have carried out several projects helping the Egyptian population on the ground. Just to name a few: the rehabilitation of the Kitchener Drain in the Delta region, a novel project that helps the de-pollution of the drain, or multiple phases of the National Drainage Programme and Waste Water Treatment Programmes in Kafr El-Sheikh, Alexandria and Lake Qarun,” he said.
Varhelyi added that this support has helped over 3 million people in Gharbia, Sharkia, Damietta, and Beheira gain access to water and sanitation. And now, a new phase of the programme is increasing the coverage to the governorates of Qena, Sohag, Assuit, Minya.
Since 2007, the EU provided to Egypt in response to water challenges more than €550m in grants, leveraging funds of nearly €3bn in the sector.