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First Cairo Water Week Success
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 10 - 2018

Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Ati said the main theme of the 2019 Cairo Water Week will be water security, its challenges and opportunities.
Abdel-Ati was speaking at the closing ceremony of this year's first Cairo Water Week (CWW).
The 2018 event gathered more than 130 national and international water experts and scientists from more than 100 countries.
Among the main recommendations of the CWW was reducing the cultivation of water consuming crops and expanding the use of solar energy for water treatment, Yousri Khafagi, spokesman for the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
The importance of funding studies and projects that limit the effect of climate change around the world on water resources especially in the developing countries was another recommendation. Also, expanding the usage of desalination especially in coastal areas was one of the most important messages of CWW 2018.
Ragab Ragab, principal hydrologist and water resources specialist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, lauded the strong presence of Africa at the CWW. Egypt's water minister is the vice president of the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) and is well conversant with water issues in Africa.
The CWW addressed issues regarding the entire continent from continental water scarcity to integrated water resources management and more importantly hydro-diplomacy, Bai mass Taal, special adviser to the National Organising Committee of the ninth World Water Forum, said.
Senegal participated in the CWW as the host of the ninth World Water Forum (WWF) to be held in 2021. “We want to align the issues addressed at the CWW to the WWF. We see Egypt as a leader on water issues in Africa and we want Egypt to play an active role at the ninth WWF,” Taal said.
According to the World Bank, Senegal is regarded as a model of public-private partnership (PPP) in water sector projects in sub-Saharan Africa. For Egypt to do the same, Taal said PPP requires the right policies to attract the private sector to such projects. In Senegal, the Government Emergency plan created the enabling environment for private sector interest. He said the Egypt 2030 vision creates such an environment and that he was optimistic that more private sector players will join hands with the government to solve Egypt's water problem.
Ragab said he believed there were several ways to reduce water consumption such as the use of new technologies and improving water use efficiencies in agriculture by applying more efficient irrigation systems such as dripping and sprinklers instead of surface irrigation, accurate estimation of crop water requirements, land levelling and the use of less water consuming crops.
Moreover, improving water use efficiencies in industry can be achieved by using efficient and smart devices, recycling waste water, then using it in irrigation.
First Cairo Water Week Success
Improving water use efficiencies in households is also as important, according to Ragab. This can be done by raising awareness, replacing old water taps and showers, flushing with smart and more efficient devices that are provided for free by water companies at affordable prices.
He also called for the need to increase water supply through non-conventional water resources such as the use of agricultural drainage water, use of treated waste water, desalination of sea water and brackish ground water using new and more economic technologies, harvesting rain and flood water into surface reservoirs or artificially recharging ground water aquifers.
Ragab said new technologies can help to better manage water resources. Early warning systems would help to plan for extreme events such as drought and flood. Remote sensing can help in large scale assessment of water losses by evaporation, surface soil moisture, identification of crop growth and salinity.
The increasing demand on water and the competition between water sectors (agricultural, domestic, municipal, industrial) on the national and regional levels, besides climate change fluctuations, are among the main drivers behind the current water crises and its complications, Hussein Al-Atfi, secretary-general of the Arab Water Council (AWC) told the Weekly.
AWC established the Arab Water Academy (AWA) which was first launched in July 2008 in Abu Dhabi with the aim of becoming a regional “centre of excellence” for executive education in water.
At present, Sinai University has shown interest in hosting the headquarters of the AWA and has started to administer capacity-building programmes for politicians, decision-makers and professionals.

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