Egypt, Japan to establish new water project in Assiut

Mai Ghandour, Thursday 3 Feb 2022

Egypt and Japan signed a contract on Thursday to establish the new Dairout barrages on Bahr Youssef, a canal connecting the Nile River with Fayoum, in Assiut.

Egypt's Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty (centre) witnessing the signing of contract on Thursday to establish new Dairout barrages (photo courtesy of Egyptian cabinet)

The project is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to develop Upper Egypt as part of the Decent Life Presidential Initiative, a statement by Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Aty said.

Water barrages are essentially dams with multiple gates that can be opened or closed to regulate upstream water elevation primarily for the purpose of irrigation and water management.

The deal was signed between the ministry and the Japanese Dai Nippon Construction Company in the presence of Abdel-Aty, Director of Dai Nippon Construction Hidemi Hatano, and representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the statement said.

Abdel-Aty explained that the project — which will be implemented with a soft loan from Japan — comes as part of the ministry’s plan to modernise, rehabilitate, and replace irrigation facilities in various governorates, noting that six barrages have already been installed via a Japanese grant.

The old Dariout barrages are considered one of the oldest water diversion structures worldwide, as they were constructed in 1872 and consist of seven barrages that serve 1.5 million feddans across five governorates — Assiut, Minya, Beni Sueif, Fayoum, and Giza.

Two feasibility studies have been conducted to rehabilitate the irrigation system on Bahr Youssef, one by the JICA and another by the Japanese Sanyo consultancy office.

Furthermore, the technical studies have been carried out by Egypt’s irrigation ministry and the review and approval of the environmental studies by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, the statement noted.

Minister Abdel-Aty added that the maintenance work that has been carried out for the main barrages located on the Nile, the main canals, and the dividing barrages from 2016 to 2021 added up to about EGP 526 million. This is in addition to the EGP 107 million that have been allocated for the maintenance work that has been implemented in 2022 so far.

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