Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Egypt, EU Strengthen Water Management Cooperation

Thu 01 Feb 2024 | 09:22 AM
Israa Farhan

The President of the European Union delegation to Cairo, Ambassador Christian Berger, highlighted the recent strengthening of relations between Egypt and the EU, emphasizing their collaboration on various projects, particularly in the water sector.

During his visit to Alexandria, Berger underlined Egypt's role as a platform for water management in Africa despite global challenges such as water scarcity and climate change.

Berger, who met with members of the business community in Alexandria while inspecting EU-funded projects, expressed his eagerness to engage with Egyptian business leaders and water experts to exchange knowledge, experiences, and ideas, and discuss the challenges they face.

The significance of Alexandria, with its numerous water channels and climate-related issues, was emphasized by Berger in the context of EU-Egypt relations.

Furthermore, Berger revealed that Egypt had recently joined a water agreement with the European Union.

This agreement allows Egypt to participate in research programs through the involvement of companies and universities, promoting not only research but also commercial and economic advancements.

Ahmed El-Wakil, President of the General Federation of Chambers of Commerce, affirmed Egypt's commitment to preparing for the future and addressing the current water deficit, estimated at 21 billion cubic meters annually.

Egypt primarily addresses this deficit through agricultural wastewater reuse, either through mixing stations or unauthorized direct reuse for irrigation, which has significant adverse effects on environmental health.

El-Wakil also acknowledged the EU’s substantial financial support over the past two decades, covering various business aspects, supporting innovators, startups, and the increasing demand for water due to population growth, improved living standards, and expanded agricultural lands to ensure food security.

He stressed that proper planning and integrated water resource management in Egypt are complex processes that require consideration of various aspects, including available water resources, water requirements across sectors, and water quality.

El-Wakil highlighted the importance of innovative measures to improve the use of current resources, create an integrated platform to coordinate water sector investments and maximize the benefits of economic activities.

These measures include large-scale solar-powered desalination projects, solar-powered irrigation, waste minimization, reuse, and recycling.

Ayman Ayad, Director of the European Union Water Program in Egypt, noted that the European Union is one of Egypt's largest investors in the water sector.

This opens up opportunities for private sector engagement and significant contributions in various areas, especially given the existing infrastructure issues and wastewater treatment plants in the country.

The EU delegation's visit to Alexandria included ambassadors from various EU member states, demonstrating their shared interest in water-related matters and the potential for future collaboration.