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"New establishment entities and actions for supporting the 1997-2017 policy"
The development process urged the establishment of new entities that support innovative concepts such as:
1. The Integrated Water Management District (IWMD)
In recent years, a global understanding has developed that water management is best served through an integrated package of services and practices including irrigation, drainage, conjunctive use, rainfall management, and flood control. This reveals the concept of integrated water management. It is also widely accepted that water management policies can be made more effective by directing the level of operation to localized coordination entities, i.e., for example districts. In this effort, MWRI started to reorganize its internal function and operations through a process of decentralization of authority to the local level, i.e. district level.
In this course, in 1989, the irrigation improvement project established a pattern of tertiary – level system transfer to water users to enhance participation which was the center of a movement leading towards increased local private sector water management.
In 1990, the MWRI started to study the possibility of establishing the "Model District". The purpose of the Model District was viewed to account for the innovations of the water management such as participation of water users and involvement of the private sector in operation and management of the irrigation system. Decentralization of water management decision-making was considered one of the important and most effective approaches for improving the district performance and hence increasing water use efficiency. The model district was also envisaged to be able to implement the integrated water resources management process within its jurisdiction and therefore institutional changes were recommended.
More recently, policy reforms led towards private sector involvement in secondary level system operation and maintenance Branch Canal Water User Association and Water Boards. Eventually, a policy reform program in irrigation management transfer to water users and the private sector was undertaken. These efforts in privatization are leading towards progressive decentralization and localized management of water resources that are expected to increase agricultural production per unit of Nile system water. (i. e. more crop per drop).
Studies and investigations carried under the Water Policy Reform Program provided a suitable organizational structure for the irrigation district. The newly initiated district was called "Integrated Water Management District, (IWMD)" The policy has been formulated to determine the responsibility and mandate of the IWMD. Then, a ministerial decree has been issued in 2001 to approve the policy of IWMD and implementation nation-wide after a satisfactory evaluation.
This way, the integrated district forms an entity which has sufficient manpower, material, and fiscal resources to operate and maintain all water resources under its jurisdiction. The primary responsibility of the district is to deliver water to the users, to ensure that water is delivered equitably. As a result, the different water entities currently existing at the district level should be merged to constitute only one defined as an IWMD.
Thus, we can summarize the objective of the IWMD into the following points:-

  • Enable the MWRI to make the most efficient use of water from all sources.

  • Integrate all sources of water into-district-level management decision thereby increasing production per unit of Nile system water.

  • Allow timely adjustment of water deliveries to and within the districts.

The roles and responsibilities of IWMD can be defined as follows:-

Water Management and Distribution
This section is primarily responsible for determining water demands and distributing water, monitoring water quality of the irrigation and drainage networks and groundwater as well as monitoring the quantity of water in canals, drains, and groundwater wells. The section has a division for studying and solving water complaints and another division for investigation of encroachments that affect the water distribution and pollute water. It contains a unit for groundwater use and development. The water resources development unit has a primary responsibility for planning development of all water resources of the district.
This section is responsible for maintenance activities of the irrigation and drainage networks including open and tile drains; for operation and maintenance of the small pump station that are used in the irrigation network, intermediate drainage reuse pumps, and groundwater pumps. The water structures maintenance unit is responsible for routine checking of gates of water structures and its repair. A preventive maintenance vehicle is part of this unit. The maintenance section has a workshop at the district to maintain the district equipment including cars and motorcycles.
Planning and Follow-up
This section is responsible for detailed plans necessary for improvement of the district and for rehabilitation of drains and canals. It proposes any changes to the operating plans of the district to be taken before the district council authorization and budgeted. It provides plans for contractors to work within the irrigation system and inspects the works as they are in progressing. This organization supports the water management and distribution section to be able to more effectively carry out the distribution of water.
This section is responsible for all administrative duties of the district including payment of salaries, finance, archiving, complaints, encroachments, legal, secretarial, etc. It assists in preparing the annual budget by receiving requested budgets from each of the section supervisors. The administrative section supervisor determines the actual personnel need and responsibilities within the district and reorganizes the staff accordingly. Two or three skilled people should probably be able to handle the work of this section.
Finally it has to be emphasized that currently from 250 to 300 Irrigation Districts are operating in the hierarchy of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation. At the time being, two districts in the Delta (namely South Zifta and Ibrahimia) and two districts in Upper Egypt (namely Luxor and West Isna) are involved at the pilot scale. If the exercise is successful, other phases will follow until the whole system is strengthened with IWMD's.

  1. The Integrated Irrigation Improvement and Management Project (IIIMP)

    The Integrated Irrigation Improvement and Management Project (IIIMP) revealed the following issues

a) The IWRM approach is essential to sustain the benefits of agricultural productivity and ensure appropriate institutional mechanisms for implementation of irrigation and drainage improvements. The MWRI recognizes that better water management is essential for maintaining a viable agricultural sector while facing increasing demands from other sectors of the economy. Water management is best improved by an integrated package of services that responds to user demand. MWRI has also utilized its collaborative programs with different donors' assistance to reassess current organizational structures in order to enhance effective delivery of water services. These initiatives have been piloted in selected districts, and the lessons learned are now to be mainstreamed through the IIIMP.
b) Application of new mesqa system design and electrification initiatives will enhance the cost effectiveness of improvements. The IIP experience, suggests that past practices in mesqa-level irrigation improvement in Egypt have often resulted in over-design. The reluctance to adopt continuous flow operational principles, with daily mesqa pumping operations and rotational schedules applied at marwa (small ditch) level, drives the continuing over-sizing of mesqa pump and pipeline installations. These lead to unnecessary cost for the farmers and consequently reduce the net economic benefits from the project. The design criteria have been revised during project preparation, leading to a marked reduction in estimated mesqa-level improvement cost and bringing these into line with international norms. Field studies, and technical and economic investigations, relating to electrification of pumping systems have been carried out under the IIP. These have suggested that significant cost-saving could also be achieved by substituting the current practice of using diesel pumps by electric pumps, even though the latter would require augmentation of the power grid in the project areas. The grouping of small mesqas for service from a single pump house should also be considered. These recommendations will be applied whenever practical under the IIIMP. The design improvements are to be piloted initially under the IIP. Then, during the course of IIIMP supervision missions, results are to be reviewed and assessed in the context of IIIMP interventions, with a view to implementing further design adjustments as appropriate.
c) Proper on-farm water management investments provide significant returns. IIP on-farm improvement demonstration programs and similar experiences elsewhere have shown that extensively applied but relatively minor incremental investments in on-farm water management and irrigated agriculture improvements result in substantial incremental benefits. Items covered include: (i) modernizing of marwa (quaternary canal) and on-farm irrigation systems, through options like installation of low pressure pipelines, flexible hoses, gated pipes, etc.; (ii) demonstrating to training of farmers in on-farm water management techniques including proper irrigation scheduling, and in improved irrigated agriculture practices inside farms and at the mesqa/marwa interface ; and (iii) back-up support for irrigation and production advisory and support services.
d) Beneficiary participation through water user organizations with adequate legal basis is critical. The experiences with mesqa and branch canal WUAs under the IIP, and of WBs under the Water Boards Project (WBP) have been positive, and these elements have been incorporated into the formulation of the IIIMP's institutional development design.

  1. Participatory Irrigation Management

One of the fundamentals of increasing water use efficiency is the involvement of all stakeholders as much as possible in the various management activities. As water is essential to all forms of life and prosperity, competition for water among users is already escalating as growing needs outstrip the limited resources. The objective should be to transform the competition between stakeholders into a form of cooperation that achieves the largest overall revenue with the least sectoral harm. Private stakeholders associations can provide a counterweight to the government technical departments to enhance water use efficiency. Most of the developed countries adopted Project Improvement Management policies some time ago, as a matter of fiscal necessity. Farmers in developed countries enjoy high levels of education, and strong support services through both the private market and the public sector.
The issue of farmers' participation in the management of irrigation and drainage projects will be presented in a separate report which includes local regional and worldwide experience in this respect.

  1. National Water Resources Plan

The government of Egypt is committed to develop and manage its water resources for the interest of all Egyptians. To this end, the MWRI has, since many years, developed water policies and guidelines for achieving this management. These policies and guidelines are dynamic in nature to allow for changing conditions. The underlying National Water Resources Plan provides an update of earlier policies and plans. The intention of this plan is to guide both public and private actions in the future for ensuring optimum development and management of water that benefits both individuals and the society at large. It is based on an Integrated Water Resources Management approach, which makes this plan a real national plan and not only a plan of the MWRI.

Integrated Water Resources Management
In common with current global thinking on how to solve present water resources problems, Egypt has adopted an Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach. IWRM is defined as a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resulting economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems. IWRM is based on several principles. Implementations of these principles are situation, culture and environment dependent. In the context of the Egyptian water management the following principles in particular are important:

  • Fresh water is a limited and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and environment ; it should be considered in a holistic way, simultaneously taking into account quantity and quality, surface water and groundwater ; and

  • Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels.

Adopting an IWRM approach means that this National Water Resources Plan is oriented towards the socio-economic development goals of Egypt, besides direct water needs address issues such as health, employment and the general well-being of the people. Representatives of relevant stakeholders have been involved in developing this plan, both at a horizontal level (the various ministries involved) as well as vertically (governorates, water boards, various user groups, etc).

The Challenges
Under the current circumstances of a growing population that is expected to reach 83 million by 2017, where most of it is concentrated over a stretch of the Nile valley and the Delta region (4% of Egypt total area). The country tried to relieve the pressure by spreading the inhabitants over a larger area through horizontal reclamation projects.
The problem here is that any increase in water supply is not generated to cope with the foreseen demands. Over the past years, Egypt has not met its requirements by successfully allocating the water over its uses, but now that there's an industrial boom and uprising economic development, the country is reaching its limits of available water.
Moreover, these activities resulted in severe pollution of water from domestic and industrial wastes. The country directed its efforts towards solving this problem, but the current programs are not sufficient.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation plays a key-role in the development and management of the water system in the country. This plan aims to achieve the national objectives by developing new water resources, improving the efficiency of the present use and to protect the environment and health by preventing pollution and by treatment and control of polluted water. Many of these activities are carried out in co-operation with other ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and New Communities, the Ministry of Health, local authorities or Population and the Ministry of Environment. The cabinet of ministers last year took an important decision by forming a permanent ministerial committee, for water affairs, headed by the prime-minister. This step will indeed resolve many internal conflicts among the competing stakeholders.
Facing the Challenges
The National Water Resources Plan is based on a strategy that has been called "Facing the Challenge" (FtC). FtC includes measures to develop additional resources, make better use of existing resources, and measures in the field of water quality and environmental protection.
These Measures include a careful evaluation of the implementation program of the horizontal expansion projects in relation to the availability of required water. Also by continuing Irrigation Improvement Projects and Drainage Improvement activities through reviewing the present drainage water reuse policy, e.g. by applying intermediate reuse and by allowing the use of higher salinity water. Moreover, a different water allocation and distribution system based on equity will decrease the losses in the system. To implement such a system and to improve operation and maintenance (O&M) it will be required to have a good institutional structure with strong Water Boards and Water Users Associations. The municipal and industrial water use efficiency can be improved by a mix of infrastructural and financial incentives or measures.
The strategy for protecting public health and the environment gives priority to measures that prevent pollution by stimulating clean products and relocation of certain industries. Agriculture will be encouraged to use more environmentally friendly methods and products. The plan includes a considerable increase in treatment of municipal sewage and wastewater, with focus on domestic sanitation in rural areas. In all cases, cost recovery is needed to maintain services. Ecological areas have to be protected from direct contact with pollution. Special attention is required to protect groundwater wells and intakes of public water supply.
As for institutional measures, the need for decentralization (of Water Boards) and privatization is strengthened, including a restructuring of the role of MWRI, e.g. by establishing Integrated Districts at local level. Cost-sharing and cost-recovery mechanisms will be implemented to ensure sustainability of operation and maintenance. The planning process at the national level will include the improvement of data and information exchange among different authorities and the co-ordination of investments, and the role of the actual stakeholders in the water resources management. Farmers and citizens are encouraged by involving them more in the water management tasks and by strengthening their 'ownership' towards public property. The specific role of women in water management issues is acknowledged and receives special attention.

  1. The Advisory Panel Project (APP)

The bilateral assistance to the water management and drainage sector has been the largest element in the Netherlands development cooperation with Egypt since 1975. In its early stages, the focus was on proper drainage as a means to increase agriculture by decreasing water logging and salinity problems. The Dutch were known to be well informed in this area and their contribution was very beneficial in that regard. These efforts led to the establishment of a joint program of technical cooperation between Egypt and the Netherlands represented in the advisory Panel Project as an exponent in 1976.

The Panel meant to advise the Egyptian Public Authority for Drainage and the Drainage Research Institute on technical issues. Later on, the panel input was also extended to policy and coordination among Dutch project.

Eventually, APP has become an active player as an initiative and facilitator for exchange of information and experience at policy level.

The bilateral cooperation has also played a role in different fields such as water resources planning, water quality, drainage water users participation, private sector involvement, cost recovery, institutional reform, gender ….etc. Policy advice becomes the major concern of this unit over the years.

The panel has succeeded in developing many recommendations that are of significant effect on future cooperation.

  • As the concept of "Integrated Water Resources management" gains more momentum, the complex issues of interrelationships of irrigation, drainage, groundwater, crops, water quality, soil, water conservation and socio-economic aspects will become dominant in the plans of the MWRI. The combination of these factors will affect the way and means as well as the scope and the role played by technical assistance in transfer of technology.

  • Develop the indigenous capabilities in the main areas of water sector including training and management. In order to achieve this target one should look beyond the immediate needs of a specific project to the overall national requirements over a much longer time frame. Local capabilities should be assisted to enable them to attain the level needed to meet national requirements.

  • Complete privatization is a sensitive issue in the water sector, however there is a need to encourage the expansion by removal of the constraints and bottlenecks. A continuous dialogue with investors in agricultural development is required.

  • Pay greater attention to environmental and social impact of irrigation and drainage works from the outset. These issues and the techniques to deal with them should be developed and applied without exception. Awareness and sensitivity of the professionals to aspects should be brought to the same level as other engineering technical qualifications.

The needs for institutional reform in the water resources management represent a global challenge. The reality of growing needs, with limited resources, is one of the factors driving international and regional water conservation efforts and consideration of alternative water resources. The available supply can be enhanced or expanded, to a limited extent, by desalinating brackish or seawater, dam construction and/or enlargement, leak reduction in reticulation systems, water awareness and conservation, and the increased use of treated wastewater.

Water resources worldwide vary greatly, spatially and temporally, as influenced by climate, technology and management practices. The supply of water is limited to the natural water renewed by the hydrological cycle and can exceed water demands during unusually wet periods, or fall far below demands during drought periods. The deficit is usually pumped from aquifers without being replenished. Furthermore, improper control of waste could cause irreversible contamination of the water resources. In particular, the heavily-polluted aquifers, left unmanaged, could have serious implications on the quality of water.
Efficient water use and effective water governance are promoted to facilitate the adoption of strategies and policies which take into account the challenges and incentives of water demand Management from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Typically, a participatory approach is followed by which the proposed water sector policies are discussed with key government officials and partners with the aim of defining the objectives and scope of the sector work.

It is also necessary to encourage joint monitoring, inspection and environmental control of pollution that might threaten the quality of water resources and groundwater in particular. Therefore, new institutional arrangements based on sound economic principles, would have to be established to translate the increasing awareness and understanding of international dependencies into effective regional cooperation. Also, addressing the water shortage can be basis for the advancement of cooperation between countries, particularly by implementing water projects of regional and international cooperation through minimizing waste, preventing contamination, information transfer and joint research.

Additional water supply will have to be mobilized, if needed, such as large-scale seawater desalination, Multi-national projects are yet, due to the complication of achieving multi-party agreements due to political constraints, not being pursued. So, although desalination is more expensive, at a cost about $ 1/ m3, it is the most attractive solution in many countries, offering the only secured supply of additional water especially in coastal and arid zones. The pricing of water supply should be considered, but, tariff-setting must include subsidies to the poor.
Last but not least, spending money on infrastructure without investing in social marketing and support will not achieve the desired gains, because behavioral change is essential. Thus, a change in the water system can never be reached with the current institutions emplace.

  1. Institutional Reform in Egypt

Institutional reform is a change in the distribution of responsibility and authority among stakeholders. Water sector institutional reform is necessary because of the challenges of the 21st century; Egypt experiences a greater involvement of water "end users" and an increasingly multi-sectoral approach to water resources planning and control.

The ministry's vision aims at achieving the following objectives over 15-20 years:-

  • Ensure that the quantity and quality of Egypt's water resources are sustained for use by future generations.

  • Achieve a more equitable allocation of the benefits and cost of water service provision.

  • Achieve greater efficiency in the allocation, distribution, and application of water.

Reform Policy Principles

  • Participation: increased responsibility and authority of users

  • Decentralization: delegation of MWRI operational responsibility to horizontally integrated local IMWRI administrations

  • Basin organization: adoption of hydrological unit boundaries for management and administrative units wherever feasible

  • Water quality: pollution control and prevention as an integrated dimension of water management

  • Private sector participation: increasing the demand for private sector investment and services and facilitating their supply

  • Privatization: divestiture, where feasible, of nonessential MWRI assets and activities

  • Cost recovery: transfer of financial responsibility to users along with management responsibility, recovery of selected main system O&M costs, and partial recovery of selected local I&D improvement costs

  • Inter-ministerial coordination: establishment of a National Water Council to ensure policy and program coordination, strengthen laws, and improve enforcement.

The eight principles are applied, in different degrees and combinations, to Egypt's three main water management contexts: the old lands of the Nile Valley and Delta, the groundwater-based areas of Egypt's deserts, and the "new lands" developments of Toshka and North Sinai.

The old lands consume most of Egypt's water, have the largest number of users, the greatest diversity and interpenetration of water uses, and face the greatest threats from pollution. Given the complexity of old lands WRM issues, the reform has been designed as a two-stage process:
The first stage of the reform involves:

  1. Formation of water users organizations (WUOs) at branch canal, district, and directorate levels to propose water distribution plans, participate in O&M activities, resolve internal conflicts, and assume responsibility for selected O&M costs.

  2. Horizontal integration of MWRI administrations at district, directorate, and regional levels and implementation of information systems for allocation planning, flow and quality monitoring, and cost accounting

  3. Increased private sector participation in O&M

  4. Formation of the National Water Council

The second stage of old lands reform involves:

  1. Transfer of O&M management and financial responsibilities to WUOs

  2. Restructuring of MWRI local administrations into Regional Water Management Authorities of the public service authority type, with inter-ministerial boards of directors

  3. Increased private sector participation in financing and operation of large I&D works

Reform in the desert lands is oriented towards the needs to adopt practical regulatory, economic, and awareness-based controls over groundwater abstraction and to ensure adequate maintenance of often dispersed water schemes. Key strategies include:

  1. Vertical organization of the MWRI administration into central, regional (aquifer-based), and district levels

  2. Formulation of water users organization at the level of the individual water scheme

  3. Licensing and regular monitoring of aquifer levels and withdrawals

  4. Implementation of low-cost programs to support water conservation

  5. Encouragement and facilitation of user-based and/or private sector involvement maintenance and in the installation of pumping facilities as the latter become necessary

  6. Adoption of full cost recovery principles.

The framework of new lands water management, which begins with a "clean slate" involves radically modern water management institutions, including:

  1. Full transfer of water infrastructure, management, and costs at the secondary canal level and below investors

  2. Adoption of either technology-based or economic regulatory instruments to ensure water conservation

  3. Development of a regulatory framework to ensure that is distributed equitably and that charges for water management are not exploitative.

Several legal adjustments are necessary or advisable to implement the reforms:

  1. Law 12/1984 needs amendment to enable management transfer to and cost recovery by WUOs in the old lands and desert areas. Clear and detailed executive regulations need to be developed in order to ensure that the WUOs are both enabled and compelled to carry out their responsibilities

  2. Amendments to Law 48/1982 may be necessary to devolve water quality protection authority to regional water management authorities

  3. Amendments to Law 129/1947 on Public Concessions and Law 61/1958 are advisable to encourage the private sector to risk capital in significant infrastructure investments

  4. Presidential decrees will be needed to establish the National Water Council and the Regional Water Management Authorities.

The reform also entails changes in the financial framework of the sector. The framework involves three types or levels of water user contribution:

  1. Cost transfer: This is simply the financial dimension of management transfer. Charges for various WUO services are assessed, retained, budgeted, and spent by WUOs.

  2. Cost recovery: Users pay for certain MWRI services, e.g., O&M of the HAD and the main canals

  3. Cost sharing: Users pay a share of the capital costs of MWRI investments which provide identifiably local benefits, e.g., branch canal continuous flow projects.

For equitable cost recovery, MWRI will adopt cost accounting systems which identify and disaggregate costs at lower levels of the I&D system down to the individual branch canal. Such accounting will enable not only more equitable charges, but also better comparison of the efficiency of MWRI units at similar levels.

Institutional Reform of Water Quality Management
MWRI has the overall responsibility for the planning and management of all water resources in the country.
In satisfying the growing demands of the different users for sufficient and good quality water, MWRI is increasingly confronted with water quality aspects and the need to develop an active policy for prevention and control pollution in view of the deteriorating water quality and its impact on human health and environment.
In recent years, MWRI has adopted a strategy towards integrated and partly decentralized water resources management in cooperation with stakeholders. In integrated water resources management aspects of water quantity and water quality management of surface and groundwater resources are integrated into one national water management policy and strategy. Meaning is combining the conventional and non-conventional resources as one integral resource.
All water uses have impact on the quality of the aquatic environment, Most of the water uses are within the agricultural sector: 84% for agriculture, 8% for industry, 5% for municipalities, and 3% for navigation. Because of its rapidly expanding population, drinking water and food needs are rising rapidly, and water is becoming a major constraint.
The national development objectives for the period 1997-2017 have been described in the document "Egypt and 21st Century. Essential elements in the policy are the central role of the private sector, human resources development, the transition to an information-based community, conservation of the environment and a water conservation culture, i.e. strengthen the partnership policy.
Therefore, the main goal of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is to utilize and protect its available water resources in order to reach the best possible benefits, with respect to quantity and quality water for the different uses in order to support socio-economic development in the various sectors of the country and meanwhile to protect the inland aquatic environment. This optimization approach aims at maximizing the economic, social and environmental return per unit of water.
The 1997-2017 plan clearly underlines the ultimate goal of "attaining development that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable".
The Egyptian Environmental Policy was formulated to achieve a balance between the needs of progressing economy and the protection of natural resources, while addressing the impact of current environmental problems which have been built up over the past 40 years. The short-term objective is "to reduce the current pollution level and minimize health hazards to improve the quality of life ".

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