Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Sunday that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and overpopulation are the two most serious challenges that could negatively affect Egypt’s water resources in the coming years.
“While the Ethiopian dam might cut Egypt’s quota of Nile River water, particularly at times of drought, the country’s runaway growth of population exerts huge pressure on available water resources,” said Abdel-Ati.
Addressing a meeting held by the Senate’s Defence and National Security Committee, Abdel-Ati said Ethiopia’s dam, overpopulation, and climate changes will force the country to develop a new water management strategy in the coming years. “We have to rationalise our use of water in order to be able to absorb the shock of these three challenges,” said Abdel-Ati.
He indicated that Egypt began adopting a new strategy five years ago based on recycling water, lining water canals, setting up water desalination stations, and reducing the areas of high-water consuming crops like rice and bananas.
Abdel-Ati said there is a kind of water imbalance in Egypt at present. “Egypt needs 114 billion cubic metres of water every year, but what we have at the present stands at just 74 billion cubic metres, and this means that we have a 90 percent deficit in water resources” said Abdel-Ati, adding that “we cover this deficit by importing agricultural crops and products and recycling water.”
Osama El-Gindi, head of the Senate’s Defence and National Security Committee, said the GERD negotiations show that Egypt’s national water security is in danger and that the country has to do all that is possible to preserve its water rights and security.