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Save water
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 11 - 05 - 2017

At the closing ceremony of the National Youth Competition for the Development of Water Conservation Public Awareness Campaign, ideas to save water were presented by three university teams: Baydina (With our hands), Harmony and Noktet mayah (A drop of water).
“Water the plants at night, take a bath in five minutes instead of 20, don't wash dishes while the water is running, repair the lines quickly, wash clothes in a full cycle.” These were some of the ways to save water at home which were printed on cards distributed to those who attended the ceremony held by the European Union delegation to Egypt and the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW).
“Water and wastewater sectors face many complicated challenges that require the intervention and support of all segments of Egyptian society,” Mamdouh Raslan, chairman of HCWW, said at the beginning of the conference. Raslan said Egyptians understood the importance of water through their history and that a connection with the River Nile and creative ideas and effective solutions were needed, “taking into consideration that the quick increase in population, poverty and climate change represent a lot of pressure on our limited resources.”
“Water is a top priority for the EU and Egypt, and engaging youth to raise awareness makes a real difference,” Ivan Surkos, head of the EU delegation, said at the ceremony. “We are proud to support the first national media competition for water conservation in Egypt.
“The EU has a long and lasting commitment to work with Egypt in this vital sector. Water is a top priority for the EU and Egypt. The competition is just the first step on the road to effective awareness and water conservation,” Surkos said.
While 800 children die daily as a result of a lack of pure water, Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Egypt, said access to water and sanitation “is a right for every child to survive and thrive to reach their full potential. Building public awareness on water conservation and preservation is crucial to maintaining access to safe water in the face of its growing scarcity”.
“The idea of the competition was a result of an agreement between the EU, the HCWW and the Ministry of Population on the importance of raising awareness towards saving water and reducing water waste,” Ayman Ayad, programme manager for water and utilities in the EU delegation to Egypt, told Al-Ahram Weekly. “The EU offered technical support through experts for training and preparing for the competition aiming to reach the best three ideas and fund their implementation with the support of the HCWW and the advertising agents of the jury,” Ayad said.
According to counsellor Sebastian Lesch, head of the German Development Cooperation, “The German government has invested a total of about 700 million euros in ongoing projects in the water and solid waste sector, among them eight million euros for the Water and Wastewater Management Programme (WWMP). This programme is supporting the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater and its affiliated companies in many aspects of the management of water resources and the increase of quality of service delivery to the costumers. One of the activities in the programme is the campaign.
“Egypt is a water-scarce country. Water resources are limited and will become even scarcer in the future due to population growth and climate change. However, there is enormous possibility of using available water more efficiently, as in irrigation.”
Lesch said he believed young people are key partners in changing the consumption patterns and behavior with regards to water usage. “I consider the campaign very good because, especially by its character as a competition, it achieves very innovative approaches to address the public.”

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