There will be no single solution to Egypt’s water crisis but a starting point would be updating leaking water infrastructure and reforming wasteful irrigation practices. One initiative so far encourages Muslim worshippers to use less water when they wash before prayers.
The EU has given Egypt €450 million (£393 million) in grants since 2007 and much of it has been aimed at water security.
“Water is life for Egypt and it’s our priority to be engaged in water sector,” said Ivan Surkoš, the EU ambassador in Cairo. “We are supporting sustainable social economic development to contribute to prosperity and stability here and not create another zone of instability. Egypt is reaching 100 million people so this is a real power in the region and is so close to Europe.”
Egypt’s problems are many as it tries to curb the birthrate and find enough water to survive. But analysts say there is no reason that a combination of technology and smart policy could not put the country on a sustainable track.
“It’s very easy to be extremely down on Egypt’s resource future but as the grave as the situation might look there is every potential to resolve it,” said Peter Schwartzstein, non-resident fellow at the Centre for Climate and Security think tank in Washington. “It will just require a degree of care, attention, and long-term thinking that has been in quite supply shortage so far.