For the past 10 years, the Egyptian government has struggled with figuring out ways to improve their water system in order for water to be accessible and also in order for the water supply to thrive. The U.N. warns that Egypt could run out of the water by 2025. Here are 10 facts about the water crisis in Egypt.
- Egypt is suffering from severe water scarcity. Only 20 cubic meters of water per person of internal renewable freshwater resources remain.
- Population growth is a massive contributor to the water crisis in Egypt. Since the 1990s, the population has grown by 41 percent. The population is also predicted to grow from 92 million to 110 million by 2025.
- Ninety-five percent of the Egyptian population lives within a ten-mile radius of the Nile River. Egypt also controls 90 percent of the Nile River, more than any other country surrounding the Nile. Even with this proximity to the river, two out of five households do not have water.
- Human life on the Nile is partially responsible for the water crisis in Egypt. Most pollution comes from municipal and industrial waste. The industrial waste affects the drinkability of the water along with the ecosystems within the water.
- Polluted water is being distributed to citizens. Because of the water scarcity, most water is not treated properly, leading to 95.5 percent of the nation drinking poorly sanitized water.
- Egypt consists of mostly desert land, with only six percent of land being arable and useful for agriculture. This type of environment leads to the nation only receiving 80 mm of rainfall annually.
- Egypt’s poor irrigation system is wasting a majority of the nation’s water sources. Thirty-five percent of underground water leaks through, as caused by the deteriorating infrastructures that haven’t been replaced in the decades since they were first put in place.
- In June 2015, the water crisis in Egypt led to the city of Bilquas and its 50,000 inhabitants being without water for an entire week. This type of scarcity leads to an annual state of emergency, where many towns do not have any access to water. The town of Ezbit Al-Taweed also suffered from the water crisis. Every day government trucks of water travel to the city who have no access to water.
- Water prices have skyrocketed because of the water crisis in Egypt. Dozens of people wait in lines outside shops and kiosks and the price of a 1.5-litre bottle can jump from three pounds to 10 pounds within a matter of days.
- In desperation for water, people have succumbed to illegally digging for water sources in their backyards. Due to the illegality of such digging, the water is not treated, leaving people to drink water infused with high amounts of magnesium, iron, and sodium. This water has been the cause of 13 percent of all child deaths in the country.
For now, water sources in Egypt are still hard to come by. Government officials have announced a plan to replace underground infrastructure within the next decade. Through the hopelessness, this leaves hope for the people of Egypt.
– Maria Rodriguez