UPDATE: Egypt’s drought crisis may continue to next year: Min.
Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Atty

CAIRO: The current drought in Egypt could continue into next year, the Egyptian Minister of Water Resourced and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti said in his speech at the Parliament Tuesday.

Drought is related to the Nile flood which has decreased over the past four years, amid the ongoing construction of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam in the Blue Nile River, one of the Nile’s artilleries, water expert and former Water Ministry Spokesperson Khaled Wasif told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

Each year Egypt sees a water shortage in the months of June, July and August, Wasif added, noting that if each person consumes 300 cubic meters of water daily, there will be a big crisis.

He noted that Egypt suffers water poverty with its current average water resources of 600 cubic meters per capita while the international average is 1,000 cubic meters per capita annually.

“The current shortage and the decreasing share of water per capita are results of constancy of our share amid the increasing number of the population,” Abdel-Atti said in a statement Thursday.

Egypt’s water resources produce 62 billion cubic meters annually while the consumption could reach 80 billion cubic meters, Abdel-Atti added, noting that the ministry is exerting its efforts to meet the people’s water needs through retreating sanitation water and building new desalination power plants.

The ministry announced in a statement that the department of Crises Management is on alert and has set a hotline 15116 to receive complaints concerning water.

Over the past few days, several places in Egypt witnessed water outages that lasted for more than ten hours; the Greater Cairo Water Company announced Thursday that the First and Fifth settlements at Al Rehab City in New Cairo will see water outage for 16 hours Friday. Upper Egypt’s Aswan will witness water outage on the same day as well.

Abdel-Atti told Youm7 that the reason behind the water shortage in the governorates over the past few days is due to the lack of adopting water rationing policies in rice fields. In mid-May, the government allocated a limited number of acres to cultivate rice due to the water shortage.

Egypt has voiced its concern over Ethiopia’s dam construction, as it would affect Cairo’s a 55-cubic meter share of the Nile water. However, Addis Ababa said it is necessary for its development and would not negatively affect the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan). The three counties have started their talks in August 2014 after three years of suspension and signed a Declaration of Principles that guaranteed their water rights and agreed to resume the talks.

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