Egypt Losing its Mighty Nile Drop by Drop
Leaking water pipes, evaporation and a rapidly growing population may be significant concerns for those trying to manage and plan water supplies in Egypt, but compounding such problems — and forcing Egyptians to rethink how they use water — is the threat posed by downstream countries which also want to take more water from the Nile, say observers. "Egyptians have to adapt to less water every day," said Rida Al Damak, a water expert from Cairo University.
Egypt has a population of about 85 million, and receives an annual Nile water share of 55.5 billion cubic metres, according to experts. Around 85 percent of that water is used in agriculture, but a lot simply leaks away.
According to a 2007 research paper by Fathi Farag, an independent water expert, Egypt loses two billion cubic metres of water to evaporation, and three billion cubic metres to grass growing on the banks of the Nile and on river islands.
Around 40 percent of the remaining water — used domestically and in industry (2.3 billion cubic metres) — is lost to leaking pipes and drains, while 2.5 billion cubic metres are used to generate electricity, the paper says.
"If you calculate all this amount of lost water, you will discover that Egyptians are left with a fraction of what their country receives every year from the Nile," Farag told IRIN. "This can also show why we should start to worry."
For farmers like Hamdy Abuleinin, who was able to irrigate his 2.1 hectares of rice only after an argument over water with neighbours in Sharqia near Cairo, this year has proved difficult. "Finding water for irrigation is becoming a daily worry for farmers here," he told IRIN.
Article continues: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/10/ethiopia-nile-egypt-water/
Image credit: Encyclopedia Brittanica