Minister of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities Assem El Gazzar said merely EGP 134.2 bn are planned for investment to build several seawater desalination plants nationwide, in response to a possible water crisis, Invest-Gate reports.
The new project spans over six five-year phases, the first of which will see the government investing EGP 45 bn to set up 47 desalination plants across the country by 2025, rendering 6.4 mn cubic meters of potable water per day, El Gazzar indicated in a Cabinet statement on August 30.
According to the minister, 19 desalination plants, with a proximate output of 550,000 cubic meters of drinking water per day, are already underway in several provinces such as Sinai, Port Said, and Dakahlia.
This comes in addition to 65 existing seawater desalination plants, which runs at a total capacity of 800,000 cubic meters per day, El Gazzar pointed out, noting that the government plans to maximize the use of Egypt’s water resources, while also rationalizing domestic water consumption.
El Gazzar added that the ministry plans to curb local water waste from 30% to 20%, along with the provision of home meters as well as the expansion of installation of prepaid meters, the statement noted.
Besides, the Ministry of Housing, in cooperation with the ministries of irrigation, agriculture, and international cooperation, is investing EGP 20 bn in two water treatment plants to reuse agricultural wastewater and provide 6.6 mn cubic meters per day, which is enough to water almost 460,000 acres.
Fear of a looming water shortage is of far greater interest to the Egyptian government due to the under-development Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will reshape the complex water politics of the Nile Basin, especially with a country heavily dependent on the Nile for its agriculture-based economy like Egypt.