Members of Parliament start voting on the newly-proposed amendments to the 2014 Constitution on Thursday- Egypt Today/Hazem abdel-Samad
CAIRO - 15 October 2019: Egypt’s House of Representatives will discuss a newly-drafted bill to conduct amendments to the Law of Irrigation.
“The new bill is one of the most important laws expected to be passed during the current session of the Parliament in order to preserve water resources [...] and increase the agricultural area,” said Chairman of the Parliament's Agriculture and Irrigation Committee Hisham al-Shinai in a statement on October 2.
As per the new amendments, all specifications that regulate water resources and irrigation will come under only one ministry to untangle all the negatives of the existing laws.
The new bill will toughen the punishment for encroachments on the Nile water. The amendments, which have been drafted by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, label encroachment crime as a felony, which is punishable by prison, not as a misdemeanor.
The bill also adopts new mechanisms to deal properly with underground water and ensure the sustainability of the aquifer.
Egypt paid more attention to the water file amid its crisis with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam, which poses threats on Egypt’s Nile water share. Both countries are at loggerhead over the $4-billion dam.
A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan has begun in 2014. One year later, the three countries reached an agreement, per which the downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. However, Cairo and Addis Ababa have recently blamed each other for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem.
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi affirmed on Oct. 12 Egypt’s water rights in the River Nile as the Renaissance Dam negotiations reached a dead end as a result of the Ethiopian side's rejection to all the proposals that take into account Egypt's water rights and interests.
“I have followed closely the tripartite meeting between the irrigation ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia to discuss the file of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has not resulted in any progress,” President Sisi said on his official Facebook page.