Irrigation minister says ‘Egypt has entered water poverty era

Egypt’s current yearly consumption of water was about 83 billion cubic meters while its share of Nile water amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters. (File photo: Reuters)

Egypt’s minister of irrigation and water resources warned on Saturday that his country has entered “an era of water poverty,” with a current yearly shortage of 23 billion cubic meters, Al Ahram newspaper reported, citing the MENA news agency.

“Egypt has entered the era of water poverty,” Hossam Moghazi said during a ministry event to celebrate the international day of water.

He added: “We have to rationalize consumption so we are accountable to Egypt’s agricultural, industrial and drinking water needs.”

The minister said Egypt’s current yearly consumption of water was about 83 billion cubic meters while its share of Nile water amounts to 55.5 billion cubic meters.

An additional 4 billion cubic meters Egypt receives from rain and groundwater.

Last week Egypt signed a declaration of principles with the Nile basin countries Ethiopia and Sudan, where they agreed on broad guidelines over Ethiopia’s contested dam.

Critics however dubbed the declaration as acknowledging the Ethiopia Grand Renaissance Dam as a undisputed fact, excising any opportunity from Egypt for any further negotiation.

On March 17, Moghazi said Egypt was “highly sensitive” toward any project to store the Nile’s water in upstream countries as it might reduce the country’s water supply.

With Egypt’s population expected to reach 150 million in 2050, the country will likely need an additional 21 billion cubic meters of water per year to meet its projected demands, Egypt’s National Planning Institute has said

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