Experts discover novel ways to tackle Egypt water crisis
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 11:07 GMT
By PR NEWSWIRE
Published:Sep 13, 2010 22:58 Updated: Sep 13, 2010 22:58
CAIRO: Egypt suffers from some of the greatest water problems in North Africa and the Middle East. Classed as a water scarce country, its citizens receive less than 1000m3 of fresh water per capita each year. As Egypt’s population grows, so does the problem of adequate water resources.
Considering the nation’s population is forecast to grow to 95 million by 2025, this would mean an annual amount of fresh water of less than 600m3 per person.
The country’s historical source of water, the River Nile, continues to supply the bulk of Egypt’s water but has struggled to retain its water quality under the stress of a growing population. Wastewater, treated water for reuse, is being increasingly used in agriculture and crop cultivation in Egypt’s desert landscapes and farm areas alike. The national government has recognized the importance of this resource and has embarked upon a massive effort to transform the local industry.
A number of foreign governments have acknowledged Egypt’s plight and have pledged millions of dollars in foreign assistance toward improving and developing the North African country’s wastewater infrastructure. This funding has been directed toward building new wastewater plants and upgrading existing plants, pipes and pumps. One of the key challenges that Egypt faces is ensuring widespread wastewater and sanitation coverage in rural areas, mainly due to the expense of implementing new technology in remote pockets of the country. Innovative low-cost technology and utilizing the environment for wastewater treatment have been proposed as key solutions to resolve the issue. Now new initiatives are becoming more prevalent, a number of which will be highlighted at IQPC’s Wastewater Egypt event, being held in Cairo next month. (http://www.wastewateregypt.com).
Some local researchers have taken matters into their own hands and have discovered methods of overcoming these challenges. Two shining examples of such innovative practices have come from professors Hussein Abdel Shafy of the Egyptian National Research Center and Medhat Saleh of Al-Azhar University. Academics in their own right, both have exploited naturally occurring resources and developed original theories to assist rural locales in achieving effective sanitation.
Shafy’s methods rely on utilizing wetlands as hybrid systems for the treatment of wastewater. This is a low-cost strategy that does not require the implementation of any complicated technology.
Saleh has formulated clustering projects as a program to improve rural sanitation coverage across Egypt. This involves centralizing wastewater and sanitation centers in order to provide a more reliable and effective system of sanitation for rural pockets. Alongside a host of other expert speakers, including the Deputy Chairman of the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater, the EU Ambassador to Egypt and the project manager for the USAID water and wastewater program in Egypt, Saleh and Shafy will be showcasing their strategies in workshop and presentation formats at IQPC’s Wastewater Egypt event. The four-day conference will be held in Cairo on Oct. 31 - Nov. 3 and will feature workshops, presentations and fantastic networking opportunities for all those involved in Egypt’s water and wastewater industries.