A man is sitting at an irrigation canal near Qena on the Nile, Egypt.

Core area “Conserving nature and natural resources, protecting life on Earth” Protecting resources, avoiding conflicts over water

Egypt has very little rainfall and its groundwater resources are limited. Ninety-five per cent of the country is desert and less than four per cent of the land can be used for agriculture. Human communities, agriculture and industry are heavily dependent on the Nile.

Water scarcity is exacerbated by strong population growth, climate change and neighbouring countries’ claims on the supply, but also by inefficient use and pollution of resources. In order to be able to meet the needs of the various user groups, the available water must be used even more efficiently than hitherto.

German activities

Germany is supporting Egypt in its efforts to reform the water sector with the following goals in mind:

  • Fostering efficient use of water
  • Providing poor people with access to drinking water
  • Improving health through proper sanitation
  • Improving efficiency levels in the agricultural use of water
  • Modernising the infrastructure for water supply and sanitation
  • Promoting the financial viability of the sector and strengthening public and private institutions
  • Decentralising the sector and establishing local water user communities
  • Training experts and educating the public on water issues.

Integrated water resources management

The approach adopted in German development cooperation in pursuit of these goals is a holistic one: Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), as it is known, seeks to reconcile measures to protect the environment and the climate with the imperatives of economic development and the needs of local communities.

Funding is being provided, for example, to support the modernisation of Egypt's agricultural irrigation infrastructure. Together with smallholder farmers, strategies for more efficient water use are being developed. Germany is helping the owners of small family farms to form water user groups and harmonise their irrigation cycles.

The BMZ is also supporting the efforts of Egypt's ministries of water and agriculture to involve water user organisations and agricultural cooperatives to a greater extent in planning and advisory processes. The available water can thus be used far more efficiently and water conflicts are avoided.

As at: 23/01/2023