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Review for building knowledge database and consensus report on recommendation on wlaw

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2.2Water Policies from 1997 - 2017

In view of the growing population, mega projects became part of the Egyptian agenda in 1996 as a solution to the problem. The idea was to invest in projects that attract the inhabitants to the new lands to alleviate the intensity of the heavily populated area and to encourage activities that absorb labor, improve exports, reduce imports and generate foreign currency. The mega projects are:

  1. South Egypt Development Project to reclaim 1.54 million feddans

  • Toshka to be irrigated by direct lifting of water from lake Nasser 200km upstream of HAD (area 540,000 feddan).

  • The Wadies located on the right and left sides of the Nile in the stretch between Qena and Aswan to be irrigated directly from the Nile (Area about 500,000 feddan).

  • East Owainat, Darb El Arbeen and west Desert Oasis, to be irrigated from fossil deep groundwater aquifers (area about 500,000).

  1. Al Salam Canal Project to reclaim 620,000 feddan out of which 220,000 feddan are located at the end of the north east corner of the country, west of Suez Canal and 400,000 feddan on the north coastal strip of Sinai Penenisula.

  1. Development of North West Coast running parallel to the Mediterranean and connecting the two boarder cities Al Salloum on the Libyan side and Rafah on the Palestinian side and extending over a distance of more than 1200 km. The road is expected to carry millions of passengers and millions of tons of goods from Southern Europe and Al-Maghrib Region to Euro-Asia, West Asia, the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula.

The plan included non-agricultural projects such as exploitation of iron ore, development of the Gulf of Suez and the use of port-Said location as a free zone international harbor.

To achieve the plan, MWRI policy was formulated in a way that did not only focus on reclamation but also aimed at securing new water resources by:-

  • Protection of surface and groundwater from pollution (water conservation).

  • Control of the demand for water.

  • Improving water use efficiency.

  • Establishment of management plan.

  • Upgrading water use legislation and regulations.

Certain issues were adapted to in setting up this policy and they can be listed as follows:

  • Environmental impact (Improved water quality).

  • Economic growth (Cost/benefit ratio – cost sharing)

  • Effectiveness (supply/demand – quantity/quality imbalance)

  • Sustainability (temporal and spatial).

  • Funding availability.

  • Stakeholder participation

  • International considerations

  • Improved of water management techniques

  • Desalination of sea water and brackish water

  • Promotion of recycling and public awareness programs among users.

The set policy was used in developing what is called the National Water Resources Plan (NWRP) 1997-2017. This plan is strictly adapting the main concept of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM). Specifically, IWRM combines all aspects (environmental, social and economic) in the management of the existing water, land and other resources to maintain their availability and sustainability under current and future circumstances. This plane has identified certain principles as follows:-

  • Equal application of supply and demand management

  • Equal importance of water quality and quantity

  • Control of pollution based on "Polluters Pay" principle.

  • Involvement of stakeholders.

  • Participation of water users in irrigation and drainage management.

  • Encouragement of private sector to participate in various sectors of development and exploitation of water resources.

  • Necessity of environmental impact assessment of all infrastructure projects.

  • Strengthening the relationship with the Nile riparian countries aiming at the implementation of water conservation and water quality improvement projects.

  • Emphasizing the need for cost sharing/recovery option.

  • Human resources development and capacity building.

The plan required a few steps ahead to pave the way for the implementation process. This urged the establishment of new entities and actions that support innovative concepts such as (for more information, see Annex 1):

  1. Integrated Water Management District (IWMD)

  2. Integrated Irrigation Improvement and Management Project (IIIMP)

  3. Participatory Irrigation Management

  4. National Water Resources Plan (NWRP)

  5. Advisory Panel Project (APP)

  6. Institutional Reform Unit IRU)

2.3Categories of water policies

In light of the presented water policies over the years, the review revealed that there are two categories of water policies:

  • Water Development Policy which is defined as "Action affecting the increase of quantities of water available for distribution and use". In the case of Egypt, where per capita share of water fell from almost 20,000 m3/year in the early 1800s to less than 1000 m3/year by the year 2000, it is clear that water policies were "Development" based aiming at satisfying all expected future requirements with extra quantities of water allocated directly by default to agricultural expansion. This is the so called supply management policy.

  • Water Allocation Policy which is defined as "Action affecting the distribution of given quantities of water among different uses and users". Due to the drop in the Egyptian per capita share of water to less than 1000 m3/year in the year 2000, all the development based policies aimed at satisfying the future requirements with extra quantities of water (through improving the efficiencies) allocated directly to agricultural expansion. This is known as the demand management policy.

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