Egyptian president sets 6-month ultimatum to eliminate encroachments on Nile mainstream, canals



Mon, 27 Sep 2021 - 12:26 GMT


Mon, 27 Sep 2021 - 12:26 GMT

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi while inaugurating Bahr Al Baqar Wastewater Treatment Plant in Port Said on September 27, 2021. TV screenshot

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi while inaugurating Bahr Al Baqar Wastewater Treatment Plant in Port Said on September 27, 2021. TV screenshot

CAIRO – 27 September 2021: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi set Monday a 6-month ultimatum to efface any encroachments on Nile River mainstream and canals so their width would be back to what it was 30 years ago.


That was while inaugurating via video-conference Bahr Al Baqar Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is the world's largest, while attending a ceremony held on that occasion in Port Said, a Suez Canal governorate.


Violations Against Water Resources


The chief of state tackled the issue of the scarcity of water resources underlining, "we have to accept that our water resources are limited so we have to focus on the optimum use of such resources."


"We’re working to save two billion cubic meters that used to get wasted in the sea. The majority of such water would be used in the reclamation and irrigation of New Delta," Sisi added.


The president also tackled the problem of encroachments over the Nile mainstream and canals underlining how the previously deteriorating conditions of canals were negatively impacting farmers.


President Sisi urged the acceleration of cleaning and lining of canals, warning against encroachments over canals and Nile banks saying “don’t get upset of the consequences.”


The head of state instructed the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority to immediately eliminate encroachments whenever they appear, saying “you can even deploy 10,000 machinery to do that.”


President Sisi warned that the punishment to individuals, who commit encroachments, would include the withdrawal of any kind of subsidies they get, and that even applies to subsidized bread and staples.


He further added, "encroachments will not just be removed. They will be removed at the expense of” violators.


Bahr Al Baqar


The cost of the plant is LE20 billion, and its daily capacity is 5.6 million cubic meters to be used in the reclamation of 400 feddans (one feddan equals 4,500 square meters) in Sinai.


Bahr Al Baqar and other related projects, including roads, located on the western bank of the Suez Canal were implemented by 16 private companies, two national ones, and designed by a private consulting bureau.


Those plants garnered three titles from Guinness World Records, and they are the World’s Largest Water Treatment Plant; World’s Largest Sludge Plant; and, World’s Largest Ozone Generator. The attempts were put forward by Orascom Constructions and Arab Contractors. 


President Sisi also inaugurated via video-conference Ras Sidr Desalination Plant, and five lift and pumping stations.


President Sisi asserted that private investors are welcomed to benefit from such infrastructure saying, “You can cultivate as many feddans as you want in Sinai.”


Land Reclamation


Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation said that Mahsama and Bahr Al Baqar wastewater treatment plants serve the cultivation of 600,000 feddans in North and Middle Sinai. Of those, more than 400,000 have already been reclaimed through Mahsama.


"Adding other cultivated lands located dispersedly in the peninsula, Sinai is estimated to house 675,000 feddans of agricultural lands," the minister underscored.


President Sisi commented saying, “the reclamation of 500,000 feddans in Sinai has cost LE150-160 billion acquired through loans...That’s why it’s crucial to maintain existing” canals and Nile mainstream.


"The cost of reclaiming 100,000 in Sinai is around LE2 billion because of digging irrigation and wastewater canals, extending them beneath the Suez Canal, and introducing necessary infrastructure," the president stated.


Agriculture minister pointed out that that the sector’s contribution in the GDP is 15 percent and employs 25 percent of Egypt’s laborers.


The chief of state revealed that another massive wastewater treatment plant will be completed in June 2022 in Hamam District western Egypt in order to reclaim and irrigate 1.5-2 million feddans in New Delta.



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