President orders stepped-up desalination, water exploration projects

President Hosni Mubarak has instructed the government to expand its seawater desalination initiatives and step up efforts to discover additional sources of groundwater, Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Mohamed Nasr Eddin Allam said on Thursday.

“The aim is to meet Egypt’s future water needs in light of the decreasing annual per capita water consumption rate to less than 700 cubic meters,” Allam explained, pointing out that this rate could be expected to decline even further as the population increases.

“Our quota of Nile water quota is 55.5 billion cubic meters a year, which was sufficient for Egypt’s 1959 population of 24 million,” he said. “Today, the national population stands at 80 million.”

“The amount of arable land, meanwhile, has risen from six million acres in 1959 to nine million acres today,” the minister added. “And all this requires irrigation."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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