Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aty reviewed the level of water challenges in Egypt, and the measures taken by the state to adapt to climate changes, noting that 95% of the ministry’s projects aim to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate changes.
During his speech on Tuesday before the session “Water..a major axis in climate plans” at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), Abdel Aty noted that Egypt is one of the most affected countries by climate change.
He explained that climate change represents a great pressure not only on the water system but on several water-reliant sectors including agriculture, food security, energy and health, in addition to the economic, social and environmental impacts and the impact on the Egyptian coasts and flow of the Nile River.
Abdel Aty further stressed that rain falling on Egypt is estimated at about 1 billion cubic meters annually and that Egypt depends on the Nile River to meet about 97% of its water needs. He noted that the biggest challenge facing the water sector in Egypt is the gap between water resources and water needs.
He also noted the increasing demand for freshwater, especially in light of the projects that are implemented in the Nile upstream countries unilaterally and without coordination with the downstream countries, in addition to the population increase and the negative effects of climate change.
Moreover, the minister pointed out that in order to deal with these challenges, Egypt has drawn up the National Water Resources Plan 2037, at a cost of $50bn, and it is expected to increase to $100bn.
The scheme includes projects to reuse water and raise the efficiency of use, including projects to rehabilitate canals and watering canals, transformation into modern irrigation, and establish triple water treatment plants with a capacity of 15 million cubic meters per day.
Abdel Aty also highlighted the necessity of considering the cross-border dimension with regard to adapting to climate changes, especially since Egypt is considered very sensitive towards any projects implemented in the upper Nile without coordination with downstream countries.
Regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Abdel Aty said the project could become a model for regional cooperation if Ethiopia respected the principles of international law and signed a fair and legally binding agreement.