Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announcing the completion of the first two phases of the Siwa wastewater treatment project in Siwa on Monday.
During his visit to the oasis, the prime minister gave his assurance that the project will put an end to the agricultural wastewater problem, which has been harming water, soil and crops for the past 30 years.
The Siwa Oasis, which is part of Matrouh Governorate, lies 560 kilometres southwest of Cairo and 55 kilometres east of the Libyan border.
According to previous statements by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the problem arose from the random digging of surface wells, which have led to increasing salinity of the main reservoir used for irrigation.
At the same time, increasing agricultural wastewater has accumulated with nowhere to go. This has damaged agricultural production, particularly of dates and olives, of which Siwa is famous for.
Elsewhere, it has led to the disappearance of surface water, which has harmed tourism, another crucial industry for the oasis.
Picturesque lakes previously full of wildlife have dried up, leading to empty cafes and campgrounds.
The first phase comprised the construction of 12 deep production wells at a depth of 1,200 metres, according to Director of the Water Department at the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Tamer Zaher.
Additionally, 42 excessively saline surface wells were closed to protect water quality, Zaher added.
The second phase comprised the construction of a 34 kilometre canal to drain excess wastewater outside the oasis to the Ain Janabi Depression, he explained.
It also included the construction of the Antefir lifting station that aims to drain 60,000 cubic metres per day.
Egypt is keen to apply the same solutions to Marsa Matrouh’s Bahay El-Din pond, Madbouly asserted.
The Siwa treatment project comes within the framework of state efforts to irrigate agricultural land with reused water.
The government is constructing a 174-long-kilometre artificial river in the Western Desert aimed at irrigating the country’s New Delta.
The project aims to cultivate 2.2 million feddans – approximately one-fourth of the country’s agricultural land – making it Egypt’s largest agriculture project.