Egyptian Prime Minister during a meeting on Thursday, 26 May 2022 to follow up on the country s plan to expand the establishment to seawater desalination plants (Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Cabinet)
The country has already established 82 desalination plants with a combined capacity of 917,000 cubic metres per day, Cabinet Spokesman Nader Saad said in a statement.
Saad made his remarks following a meeting Thursday between Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a number of ministers and officials on the subject.
During the meeting, Madbouly stressed the importance of setting up more plants in coastal cities, given the importance of fulfilling local water needs for development purposes.
The 14 plants are expected to be completed by June 2022, according to a previous statement by Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar.
They are being constructed in the governorates of Marsa Matrouh, the Red Sea, North Sinai, South Sinai, Port Said, Daqahliya, Suez and Alexandria.
The prime minister expressed the government's eagerness to engage the private sector in implementing the coming desalination projects as part of the country's strategy to expand the participation of the private sector in the Egyptian economy.
Egypt seeks to boost private sector participation in the economy to 65 percent in the coming three years, up from 30 percent at present, in line with a broader plan to spur growth, create jobs and boost competitiveness amid the global crises.
Madbouly issued directives to form a technical committee tasked with receiving bids from the companies seeking to take on seawater desalination projects, assigning relevant bodies to provide the land and equipment needed for the projects, the statement added.
The cabinet spokesman also said that the meeting touched upon the country's 2020-2025 plan to expand seawater desalination projects, with the aim of providing water for urban development and a rising population.
The meeting reviewed the sites of the proposed plans within the five-year plan and the production capacity expected to be achieved, he added.
The aforementioned efforts are part of the Egypt's plans to provide alternative sources of drinking water through desalination in coastal governorates and the reuse of treated water.
In September 2021, Egypt inaugurated the water treatment plant of Bahr Al-Baqar, the largest of its kind worldwide, at a cost of EGP 20 billion and with a production capacity of 5.6 million cubic metres per day.
Egypt’s annual share of water is 560 cubic metres per person, placing the populous country well below the international threshold for water scarcity.
The state’s push to build more desalination plants comes as Egypt’s water security is threatened by Ethiopia’s plan to unilaterally continue the filling of the massive Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in the absence of a binding agreement with downstream countries Egypt and Sudan.