CAIRO - 14 October 2018: Egypt’s first Cairo Water Week (CWW) kicked off on Sunday under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, aiming at increasing the public awareness of water rationalization for the sustainable development amid state of water shortage.
The four-day CWW is being held in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) to tackle water issues, amid climate change that impacts the world’s freshwater. In March 2016, the United Nations Environment Program warned that 50 percent of the world’s population would face “severe water stress” by 2030.
The 2018 CWW is launched under the title “Water Conservation for Sustainable Development”. It aims at fostering awareness of water issues for sustainable development, facing water challenges via non-traditional methods and modern technology, and supporting implementation of integrated water management.
The CWW focuses on the following themes: climate change and environment; transboundary water governance and benefits; Water, scarcity, health, Sanitation challenges and opportunities; and science and technology innovation.
On the sidelines of the CWW, the 4th Session of the Islamic Conference of OIC for Water Ministers will be held on Sunday. It will be attended by representatives from 57 countries. It is scheduled that Egypt will receive the presidency of the water ministerial meeting of the Islamic Conference of the OIC.
Egypt will chair the 3rd Delta Coalition Ministerial Conference that will be held on the sidelines of the CWW on Sunday. The conference will be attended by representatives of the 13 member states. It will focus on financing projects of climate change adaptation, integrated coastal zone management, development projects of river basin.
It was scheduled that the African Young Water Professionals Forum will convene on Sunday, gathering 30 young African leaders specialized in water fields.
Late September, the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation launched a promo video for the Cairo Water Week (CWW), showing the main issues that will be tackled during the conference, most notably the overwhelming influence of climate change, which resulted in water scarcity.
Egypt suffers from an annual 21 billion cubic meters gap between water consumption and production. The consumption reached 110 billion cubic meters, while Egypt currently has 60 million cubic meters annually, Abdel Atti said.
Egypt has diplomatically and politically entered into a battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.
The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.
Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. The tributary feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.