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2019 | Book

Conventional Water Resources and Agriculture in Egypt


About this book

This unique volume focuses on Egypt’s conventional water resources and the main water consumer: Egypt’s agriculture. It provides an up-to-date overview and the latest research findings, and covers the following main topics:

· History of irrigation and irrigation projects

· Key features of agriculture, the administrative and legal framework in Egypt

· Land resources for agriculture development

· Food insecurity due to water shortages and climate change; resulting challenges and opportunities

· Assessment of water resources for irrigation and drinking purposes

· Impacts of upstream dams, such as the GERD and Tekeze Dam, on Egypt’s water resources and crop yield

· Sustainable use of water resources and the future of mega irrigation projects

· Quantity and quality of water in Egypt’s water resources bank

This book and the companion volume Unconventional Water Resources and Agriculture in Egypt offer invaluable reference guides for postgraduates, researchers, professionals, environmental managers and policymakers interested in water resources and their management worldwide.

Table of Contents


History of Irrigation and Irrigation Projects

Evolution of Irrigation in Egypt
Egypt established fixed boundaries thousands of years ago. The area of the country is approximately one million square kilometers. The cultivated portion of the country does not exceed 5% of the total; while the inhabited portion is no more than 8%. The Nile River crosses the country from south to north. The irrigated area on the floodplain of the river is a narrow strip on both sides which forms the Nile Valley. The Nile Delta starts north of the capital city, Cairo, and ends close to the coast of the Mediterranean. Although Egypt is known as the “gift of the River Nile,” many Egyptian scholars prefer to call Egypt “the gift of the Egyptians” – who managed to train the River, to irrigate the lands, and to build one of the most ancient civilizations in the world.
Dia-Eldin ElQuosy
The History of Irrigation Development Projects in Egypt
Irrigation development projects in Egypt started in the dawn of history with the Egyptian Stone Age man changing from a nomad life to settled farming. Irrigated farming needed a permanent source of irrigation water. Storage was, therefore, the first “secret word” in the history of modern irrigation. “Summer Canals” were first adopted at the beginning of the nineteenth century to store the water needed to irrigate low-lying lands downstream, replenish groundwater reservoirs, and allow seepage to adjacent lands on both sides of the canals. The Delta Barrages on the Damietta and Rosetta branches followed to become the first step toward scientifically based irrigation water management. Engineering schools were part of the development process in providing the country with the required modern and up-to-date techniques. Summer Canals, Delta Barrages, and the School of Engineering were all achievements of the great ruler and developer Mohamed Ali Pasha, the first leader after the evacuation of the French colonial era (1798–1802). The excavation of the Suez Canal was connected to irrigation projects when a freshwater canal was fed from the Nile to carry water to the workers and to carry pilgrims to perform “Hajj” to the Holy shrines in Mecca and Medina.
The twentieth century witnessed rapid development in irrigation infrastructures and ended in the existing final shape of the system. Each control structure needs to be reconstructed or renewed when it reached more or less 100 years of its age. Reconstruction projects will also be described in this report.
Moreover, the future of the system and how it will cope with the next developments and the expected challenges will be explored.
Dia El-Din El-Quosy

Key Features, Administrative and Legal Framework

Key Features of the Egypt’s Water and Agricultural Resources
In Egypt, the estimated cultivated land (irrigated and rain-fed areas) is about 24,960 km2 from the total area of 1 million km2. There are four main agroecological zones that are identified as follows: (1) the North Coastal Belts, (2) the Nile Valley, (3) the Inland Sinai and the Eastern Desert, and (4) the Western Desert.
Crop cultivation in Egypt takes place during three consecutive cropping seasons: the winter, summer, and nili (Kharif) seasons, depending on the irrigation rotation. At the same time, there are areas cultivated with annual crops, such as sugarcane and fruit trees. This crop diversification makes the total cropped area 13.7 million feddans, i.e., crop intensity of 172%.
Concerning the land tenure structure in Egyptian agriculture, it is clear that fragmentation of the agricultural land is a major characteristic of Egyptian agriculture, especially in the old land. Such fragmentation has always had a negative impact on the rate of growth in the agricultural sector.
Egyptian policymakers pay special attention on the agricultural sector for its importance in ensuring food security to the rapidly growing population through the vital activities, such as better utilization of agricultural resources, using drainage water reuse, reusing of treated wastewater, improving water use efficiency, managing groundwater resources, and developing a horizontal expansion area through reclaiming new lands.
Mohamed Abdel Meguid
Administrative Context and the Legal Framework Governing Water Resources and Agriculture in Egypt
The water resources play a vital role in the lives of nations and peoples. Water is linked to food security and the comprehensive development process in all its dimensions. Thus, water has become part of the national security of any country. Therefore, all countries are concerned with the management of their water resources and how they are distributed into different uses and sectors, including the agricultural sector, which is the largest consumer of water globally, where agriculture uses about 70% of freshwater annually according to UN estimates.
The Egyptian situation is a special case, where Egyptians rely mainly on Nile water, accounting for more than 96% of Egypt’s total freshwater. Therefore, the Nile River – was and still – represents the backbone of Egyptian development in all its dimensions.
Throughout the ages, Egyptians have developed various laws, policies, mechanisms, and institutions to manage water resources and to manage agriculture in Egypt.
This study aimed to present and analyze the legal and administrative frameworks governing both water resources and agriculture in Egypt, to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the legal and administrative contexts of water resources and agriculture in Egypt and evaluate the disadvantages and reform.
The study is based on the historical approach to present and analyze the policies and laws of water management and agriculture in Egypt. It also relied on the legal-institutional approach in presenting and analyzing the most important institutions that play a role in water management and agriculture in Egypt.
Mohamed Salman Tayie, Abdelazim Negm

Land Resources for Agriculture Development

A Synopsis on Egypt’s Digital Land Resources Database Serving Agricultural Development Plans
Soil conservation practices, in the Egyptian Nile Valley and Delta, in addition to raising agricultural productivity are considered main objectives of the National sustainable plans. They are aiding in filling in the gap between agricultural production and needs required to feed the increasing population. Availability of detailed accurate land resources information is quite necessary to support land reclamation, conservation and management. The current study is aimed to explain previous investments in Egyptian land resources mapping, using recent technologies of multi-temporal satellite images and geographic information systems. Moreover, a digital information platform will be opened to store further future expected resources information.
A GIS database was created, where previously produced analogue soil maps, covering the whole inhabited areas at the Egyptian Nile basin, Northern coast and desert oases, were input in digital format. Available topographic survey maps, at a scale of 1:100,000 were also used to extract different thematic layers (i.e. roads, rail ways, irrigation and drainage canals and infrastructure networks). Multi-temporal LANDSAT, SPOT and SRTM satellite images were processed and classified to produce land use and DEM GIS layers and to detect temporal changes.
It was found that 45% of the Nile Delta and 15.5% of the valley are characterized by high production capability. Urban encroachment was found often occurring at the expense of most fertile soils, classified as Typic Torrifluvents and Vertic Torrifluvents. The imbalance between irrigation and drain network lengths, of some areas, refers to its impact on accelerating land degradation, water logging and salinization. Creation of the database saved previous major projects outcome data and will still be opened to add further future expected georeferenced information. Its accurate integration nature makes it rather important for decision support and management of sustainable development plans.
A. Gad
Land and Groundwater Assessment for Agricultural Development in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
Management of land and water resources in arid regions is vital and opens the way for new agricultural activities and growth of residential communities. The Sinai Peninsula suffers from water scarcity, limiting these types of development in a substantial way. This chapter seeks to evaluate the conventional land and water resources of Sinai, Egypt, using remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques. The future of land reclamation in Sinai will depend largely on its groundwater potential.
For major portions of Sinai, however, information on soil resources is limited. Generally, Sinai soils lack pedological features that indicate the soil development under arid conditions. El-Tina plain soils are derived from fluvial-lacustrine deposits with poorly drained, shallow water tables, with clayey or loamy texture and a salic horizon. Sandy soils extend through southern El-Qantara East and the surrounding areas of Lake El-Bardawil; these are considered Aeolian deposits without horizon differentiation. Wadi El-Arish soils are developed from fluvial deposits as influenced from limestone in the upstream. The Wadi El-Arish cultivated area extends from the confluence of Wadi Abu Gidi north to Wadi El-Bruk. The good agricultural land is located along the Wadi E1-Arish main channel and its tributary. Wadi Al-Aqabah is also a good agricultural area but is smaller and narrower than the Wadi El-Bruk area.
The assessment of suitable agricultural lands must be associated with an evaluation of water availability. The availability of water is usually the most limiting factor when planning development in Sinai. In this study, areas with the most (soil and groundwater) potential for agricultural development are identified and mapped to inform decision-makers. The best locations for drilling groundwater wells were selected from the decision map, which was produced by utilizing the GIS technique. The iso-salinity contour map of the Lower Cretaceous (LC) aquifer shows a general increase of groundwater salinity toward the west and the north, with four salinity zones recognized. The importance of LC groundwater development is essentially related to the necessity of providing basic extension services (mainly water supply for domestic purposes and for small-scale irrigation agriculture) to the existing nomad tribes in central and South Sinai. Moreover, as the groundwater in the LC aquifer is moving down the gradient across the eastern border toward the aquifer discharge area along the Dead Sea-Gulf of Aqaba rift valley, it is desirable to use this water in Sinai before it gets naturally lost in the rift discharge areas. The salinity of the Upper Cretaceous (UC) carbonate aquifer is rather high in most of Sinai (3,200–10,870 ppm) with the exception of its central part along the El-Tih, El-Egma, and Shaira zone, where the groundwater salinity of the UC ranges between 1,100 and 1,500 ppm. Consequently, it is not recommended to rely on exploiting this aquifer for future development projects in Sinai. Favorable areas for groundwater development from the Eocene aquifer include the area between El-Hasana and El-Quseima and the area north of Nakhl and El-Thamad, where the aquifer hydrogeological setting is similar to the northeastern Sinai at Ain El-Guderrate and Ain Qedees. The groundwater quality in South Sinai is better and has more potential than that in the North Sinai.
El-Sayed Ewis Omran

Food insecurity due to Water Shortage and Climate Change

Impact of Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector in Egypt
The complex interrelationship between environmental change and agricultural production will become one of the most significant policy debates, in both developed and developing countries particularly in the coming decades of the twenty-first century. Global and regional climate changes will modify both agricultural production capacity and locations of production. Also, the increasing intensity of agricultural production will contribute to environmental change at both the regional and global scale. Agricultural production in Egypt depends on irrigation, using surface water coming from the River Nile. Groundwater also contributes with very low amounts. Generally, the agricultural sector is considered the largest consumer of water (80% from total water budgets).
Climate change can have several kinds of impacts on the agricultural sector and stability of food security in Egypt. Crop production will be affected negatively due to the expected increases in temperature, extreme weather events, drought, plant diseases, and pests. Also, the land use will change due to flooding from sea level raising, seawater intrusion, and secondary salinization. Water resources may be affected due to global warming and decreases in precipitation. Moreover, crop water requirements are expected to increase. The confounding effect of all these components represents the main challenge for researchers.
The current infrastructure and cropping systems have to be changed to comply with future demands with regard to the growing population and the threat of climate change. The negative impacts of climate change on agricultural crops can be reduced by the implementation of integrated farm-level adaptation strategies, for instance, changes in the date of planting, cultivars, use of extra fertilization, and changing irrigation intervals. The author will present in this chapter the impact of climate change on agriculture in Egypt and some adaptation strategies to reduce these impacts.
M. A. Mahmoud
Challenges and Issues in Water, Climate Change, and Food Security in Egypt
Climate change is a real and growing problem and a complex phenomenon that alters the whole environment in which humans live. The impacts of climate change on freshwater systems and their management are mainly due to the observed and projected increases in temperature and precipitation variability. Developing countries, such as Egypt, are the most threatened by drastic impact of climatic changes on agriculture and food security. Several studies reported that Egypt is one of the most vulnerable countries to the potential impacts and risks of climate change, even though it produces less than 1% of the world total emissions of GHG, with a vulnerability of all sectors of development and a low resilience of the majority of stakeholders. One of the main challenges facing water management in Egypt is the expected impacts of climate change on the Nile flows and the different demands of the water sector. This in turn will directly affect the agricultural sector which is a key sector for the socio-economic development in Egypt, and plays a significant role in the Egyptian national economy. Climate change, population growth, and economic development will likely affect the future availability of water resources for agriculture in Egypt. The demand and supply of water for irrigation is expected to be influenced not only by changing hydrological regimes (through changes in precipitation, potential and actual evaporation, and runoff at the watershed and river basin scales), but also by concomitant increases in future competition for water due to population and economic growth. Egypt is therefore in a situation where it must plan for several different future scenarios, mostly negative, if climate change results in increased temperatures and decreased precipitation levels. Egypt’s negative environmental consequences of climate warming represent rise of sea level, water scarcity, agriculture and food insufficiency, and pressures on human health and national economy. Even in the absence of any negative effects of climate change, Egypt is dealing with a steady growth in population, increased urbanization, and riparian neighbors with their own plans for securing future water needs. All of these will require Egypt to put water resource planning as a top national security priority. The future impact of the above negative environmental consequences of climate change scenarios, the adaptation measures, and mitigation polices are the main points of concern in this chapter.
Mosaad Khedr
Egyptian Food Insecurity Under Water Shortage and Its Socioeconomic Impacts
Egypt is not plentiful in agriculture resources, whereby the total cultivated land is only 3.6 million ha, and total renewable freshwater is only 62 Billion Cubic Meter (BCM) for 93 million people. The water shortage in Egypt exceeds 30 BCM/year with Egypt’s water share per capita being 674 m/year. This severe shortage of water resources and arable lands in addition to growing population are one of the reasons why Egypt is one of the largest food importers in the world. Egypt is the biggest importer of wheat (12 million tons/year), and fourth importer of maize at 8.5 million tons/year and the seventh biggest importer of edible oils in the world, with a gap, reached 100% of lentil, 70% of broad bean, and 32% of sugar and 60% of red meat, butter, and milk powder. There are several impacts of food and water insecurity and socioeconomic impacts such as the soaring price of food, and small and tiny farm. More than 80% of land tenure and ownership is less than 0.8 ha in addition to very low share land per capita not exceeding 0.14 acres and continuous increase in poverty rate, which reached 27.8% at the end of the year 2016. To deal with this food insecurity, Egypt counts on major reclamation projects for an addition of more than 1 million acres as an extension to the present agricultural land located in North Sinai, at Toshka in the southwest valley and the Oweinat project in the far south of the western desert near the border with Libya. Agriculture related policies in Egypt should be reformed to plan and advance increased food production especially the essential crops such as wheat, maize, sugar, lentils and broad bean, oilseed, and meat and dairy products. Moreover, Egypt should make serious efforts to find new sources of water to combat water shortage, which may include untraditional sources such as desalination of seawater, treated sewage and treated industry water, and reclaimed agricultural drainage water, and also develop and renovate the whole agricultural system.
Nader Noureldeen Mohamed

Assessment of Water Resources

Evaluation of Water Resources Qualities for Agriculture Irrigation in Abu Madi Area, Northern Middle Nile Delta
Twenty-six samples were collected from the shallow and the deep groundwater and surface water (agricultural drains and irrigation canal) to evaluate the water quality in Abu Madi area, middle Nile Delta. Irrigation water quality parameters were classified into individual parameters and integrated parameters. Salinity, sodium chloride MH, RSC, pH, and alkalinity hazards are considered as individual parameters. The integrated parameters include Welcox’s classification, US Salinity Laboratory Staff classifications, and irrigation water quality (IQW) index. Twelve samples of the deep groundwater, two samples of the shallow groundwater, and two samples of the surface water have salinity hazards. Regarding sodium hazards, Na%, SAR, and Kelley’s index calculated values mostly showed hazardous effect; however, RSC and PI values did not show hazardous effect. All the collected water samples except sample 2 have undesirable chloride concentrations (<200 mg/l) and are mostly characterized by cation–anion exchange reaction. Most of the collected samples have unsuitable MH values, corrosive CR values, alkaline pH values, and slight to moderate carbonate alkalinity hazards. The collected water samples are mostly situated in IQW moderate suitability range for irrigation and very satisfactory to satisfactory for all classes of livestock and poultry.
Zenhom E. Salem, Ayman M. Al Temamy, Mohamed K. Salah, Moamena Kassab
Spatiotemporal Fluctuations in Phytoplankton Communities and Their Potential Indications for the Pollution Status of the Irrigation and Drainage Water in the Middle Nile Delta Area, Egypt
Water pollution monitoring programs should include phytoplankton analysis to get a deep understanding of the degree of pollution and eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems. In this chapter, spatial and temporal variations of the phytoplankton composition in the Middle Nile Delta surface water were investigated. Water was sampled from two main irrigation canals (Qudaba and Mit-yazed canal) and two main drains (Janag drain and El-Gharbia main drain). A total number of 250 species and varieties belonging to 100 genera and 7 algal divisions were recorded. Bacillariophyta, Chlorophyta, Cyanophyta, and Euglenophyta were the most important and effective algal divisions in the surface water of the Nile Delta. The phytoplankton communities of the irrigation canals had a quite similar composition and so the communities of drains except in the estuary of El-Gharbia main drain. Significant differences were found between drain’s phytoplankton communities and that of irrigation canals.
In general, the temperature and nutrient availability during summer seemed to give higher productivity in both irrigation and drainage water. There was evidence for heavy organic pollution through the presence of pollution-tolerant algal taxa; also there were many species that were tolerant to eutrophication. In this work, besides the observation of phytoplankton communities’ fluctuations, a phytoplankton checklist was established for irrigation and drainage water of the Middle Nile Delta so that it can be used as environmental bioindicators and other probable applications. Palmer index was used to evaluate the organic contamination in the studied water bodies. Organic pollution in summer was higher than that of winter. In general, pollution increased along the water pathways from southern to northern direction.
Mohamed Ghobara, Zenhom E. Salem
Groundwater Assessment for Agricultural Irrigation in Toshka Area, Western Desert, Egypt
Toshka area is located southeastern of the Western Desert. In 1997, Egypt established a development project to irrigate 216,000 ha (540 feddan) by 2017 through pumping surface water from High Dam Lake as a part of the mega project “Developing Southern Egypt.” Currently, the Egyptian government plans to extend the project by about 100,000 feddan depending on surface water irrigation and 25,000 feddan depending on groundwater (through 102 wells) as a part of the recent mega project called “1.5 Million Feddan Project.” Egypt is now fully utilizing its annual share of the Nile waters 55.5 km3 from the Nile, and it has a shortage of water estimated at 20 km3.
The present chapter aims to evaluate the groundwater conditions to determine the sustainability of the groundwater resource, the expected changes in groundwater levels, the amount of recharge and the suitable discharge from the groundwater for irrigation of 25,500 feddan through 100 years, and the changes in water quality. The hydrochemical analysis was carried out using 38 productive wells and 1 surface sample from Aswan High Dam Lake (AHDL) for major ions.
The present study was carried out in Toshka using 102 groundwater wells located west of AHDL using static, dynamic water levels, well depth, discharge, and pumping tests to determine the hydraulic parameters of the aquifer system in the study area and building the groundwater model. Visual MODFLOW 2011.1 software was used to estimate the expected drawdown in the groundwater levels using four different scenarios. A conceptual model was constructed to simulate water flow system of the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer through 100 years.
The safe water use of groundwater for 100 years is 1,007 m3/day from each well working 8.4 h/day at 120 m3/h, to provide 1,500 m3/feddan/year for a total of 25,000 feddan. The expected lowering in the groundwater level after 100 years is 15 m. The salinity ranges from 480 to 1,200 ppm with an average of 648.5 ppm. It increases with increasing distance from AHDL.
Abbas M. Sharaky, El Sayed A. El Abd, Emad F. Shanab

Impacts of GERD and Tekeze Dams on Egypt’s Water Resources

Impacts of Filling Scenarios of GERD’s Reservoir on Egypt’s Water Resources and Their Impacts on Agriculture Sector
The Ethiopian government builds the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that is a 6,000 MW hydropower project on the Blue Nile to fulfill the country’s energy needs. This dam will have many impacts on the water supply of downstream countries like Egypt and Sudan. The objective of this chapter is to model the impacts of GERD on AHD. Illustration of the model constructed to simulate impacts of filling options for the GERD reservoir is provided. Many scenarios were conducted using the developed model to predict the optimum filling scenario to minimize these impacts on downstream countries. Simulating results show that the live water storage in AHD will reach its minimum with the minimum water level of 147 m by the end of 5 years filling period of the full storage capacity of GERD (74 BCM). Scenarios of changing GERD’s filling period and GERD filling storage capacity have been conducted, and their effect on agriculture has been sesed. Scenario results show that decreasing the water supply required for agriculture will cause a high loss in income especially in case of 5 years filling period of GERD. Therefore, increasing filling period is a solution, or the other solution is the changing of the GERD storage capacity to minimize downstream impacts on AHD. However, this will not eliminate the impacts but will just relief them. The net loss in the return of each crop was computed for all scenarios to enable the decision takers to plan for the future for the different scenarios.
Noha Donia, Abdelazim Negm
Ecohydrogeological Challenges on Ethiopian Water Projects and Their Impacts on Annual Water Share of Egypt: Case Study of Tekeze Dam
Ecohydrogeology provides detailed instructions among water (surface or groundwater), geology, environment, and biological processes to improve water security. Ecohydrogeological challenges are dominant in the territory of Ethiopia. According to the 1959 treaty with Sudan, the annual water share of Egypt is 55.5 km3.
The main controlling factor on water resources in East Africa is the East African Rift that is the largest continental rift on Earth, resulting in crustal mobility between the Arabian and African plates. Ethiopia is characterized by rugged topography, a unique regime of the short intense rainy season, high evaporation, flooding, drought, dominant basaltic rocks, an abundance of geologic faults and fractures, active volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, severe erosion and land degradation, siltation, and lack of major groundwater aquifers.
The Nile basin countries suffer from lack of electrical energy. By the end of the last twentieth century and the beginning of the new twenty-first century, the demand for hydropower energy has been increased for development in the Nile basin countries especially Ethiopia, resulting in political tension between the upstream and downstream countries.
Egypt has almost completely relied on the Nile River water for irrigation since the pharaohs. The Egyptian government signed about 15 agreements with some Nile basin countries for utilization of the Nile water. The construction of water projects in the Nile basin region in Ethiopia has produced political tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of Tekeze in 2009, the Tana-Beles diversion in 2010, and the under-construction Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) that has started in April 2011.
The present chapter deals with the geological characteristics of the Nile region in Ethiopia. It also discusses the environmental challenges in the region of Tekeze River (Atbara) in Ethiopia and its impacts on downstream countries Egypt and Sudan. Analysis of ASTER DEM of Tekeze River basin showed that it has a dendritic pattern. Tekeze reservoir area is 155 km2 at 1,140 m asl with a volume of 9.3 km3. Egypt and Sudan lost 4 km3 in 2008 and 2009 due to dead storage in addition to an annual loss estimated at 200–700 Mm3 from evaporation and irrigation.
Abbas M. Sharaky

Sustainable Use of Water Resources and Future of Irrigation Projects

Estimation of Crops Water Consumptions Using Remote Sensing with Case Studies from Egypt
Actual evapotranspiration (ETa) represents crop water consumption in consideration, the water conserved in plant tissue structure representing about 1% or less. Many researchers understood the importance of ETa, and they did their best to measure or calculate ETa. Tens of experimental and mathematical models were used to calculate evapotranspiration in last century. Many weather, plant, and soil parameters were inserted in these models. Most of these models were acceptable for local scale and used for certain climate. Only a very few models were used on a global scale but need a lot of parameters and well-distributed weather stations. The crop pattern was the main obstacle to using these models on a large scale. The early satellite age was the beginning of the development of global-scale models through using satellite images to calculate ETa and manage crop water consumption. Triangle and crop water stress index (CWSI) methods were used and developed in the 1970s and the 1980s, respectively. In 1990s and beginning of 2000s, the SEBAL and SEBS models represent a new step in the way of evapotranspiration development models. In the last decade, METRIC, ETLook, Alexi, and ET watch models were developed to fill the gaps of SEBAL and SEBS models. Researchers around the world still try to modify these models to improve the results.
Mohammed A. El-Shirbeny, E. S. Mohamed, Abdelazim Negm
Crop Water Requirements and Irrigation Efficiencies in Egypt
Water scarcity is the major factor that limits the ambitious hopes to expand and increase the agricultural area to meet the present gap between food production and consumption. In areas like Egypt, located in an arid/semiarid region, where vegetation water requirement represents an important fraction of the total water consumption, the pressure of population growth and increasing domestic demand and other sectors for water represent other challenges for the agricultural sector. Agricultural activity in Egypt consumes from 80 to 85% of water resources. To meet these challenges, good water governance, which aims to reduce losses and increase benefits per unit of water, should be adopted. One of the most important ways to improve water use efficiency and optimize plant production is to provide crops only with the water they need based on the climate-plant-soil relationship.
There are many ways to increase water use efficiency, such as improving irrigation canals in old land to increase the conveyance efficiency; using a pressurized irrigation system in new reclaimed lands, in addition to water management practices on farm like laser land leveling; using the raised bed irrigation method, irrigation scheduling, intercropping, crop intensification, and mulching; using soil amendments and organic fertilizers; and using short and drought tolerance varieties. The integrated management for soil, water, and crops is very important to maximize crop yield and water productivity, so in this chapter, the author will provide an overview on how to maximize crop yield with minimal water use.
M. A. Mahmoud, A. Z. El-Bably
Greenhouse Operation and Management in Egypt
One of the major advantages of producing vegetable crops and ornamental crops under protected cultivation around the world is the ability to produce high yields throughout the year regardless of ambient weather conditions. To accomplish this objective, climatic variables inside greenhouses (such as air and soil temperatures as well as carbon dioxide concentration) should be controlled. The greenhouse sector in Egypt has achieved many success stories related to improvement of food security for Egyptian people via providing the local market during winter season with an adequate quantities of vegetable crops and ornamental plants. However, exports of greenhouses products to the foreign markets are not sufficient until now; there are some constraints such as the adoption of modern technology for greenhouse climate control and the need to further develop these, as well as implementation of food safety legislation during the different production steps.
As production costs increase by using such practices, growing areas in protected cultivation are trending in mild climatic regions of the world, where plants can grow without using artificial control of the greenhouse environment. There are several constraints related to greenhouse irrigation management such as misuse of water resources causing serious yield reductions; low irrigation efficiency can be primarily attributed to poor management of irrigation water in addition to technical problems of on-farm irrigation applications, as well as inadequate maintenance of irrigation systems often resulting from inadequate management in operation and maintenance. The use of greenhouse and plastic house techniques has contributed to better water-use efficiency.
The plastic or glass cover creates a modified microclimate in which radiation and wind movement are lower but relative air relative humidity is higher under greenhouses than in the open field, favoring a reduction in evapotranspiration. Furthermore, the higher temperature results in increased crop growth rate and higher obtained yield per unit area of protected cultivated land. Protected cultivation is a proper technology for improving vegetable crops productivity.
This chapter illustrates several beneficial agricultural practices in terms of the greenhouse sector. Work in the greenhouse sector considers greenhouse management and the proper tools that can be used depending on many factors such as the crop type, targeted market, technician availability, head and operation costs, etc.
The scientific background about greenhouse management will be explained in this chapter with the details necessary to provide the background needed about the scientific base of the modern technology. This chapter also took into consideration information needed for the local small farmers who use simple greenhouse technology to give information to inform critical management points such as proper cover materials and greenhouse ventilation systems. Furthermore management of food safety for greenhouses products and how to reduce the use of chemical pesticides through fertilization management are vital.
Recently, Egypt has established a national mega project for the establishment of 100,000 acres of greenhouses during the next few years. This project needs a lot of infrastructure, materials, manufacturing, and labor and technicians. Management of 100,000 acres of greenhouses will need proper qualified advisors and properly trained staff. There are a limited number of advisors and proper technician in Egypt because many good advisors and technicians left to work for in Gulf countries due to better salaries provided. There is an urgent need to prepare a new generation of advisors and technician in a short amount of time. The current chapter is a technical guideline for the greenhouse sector and can be used as a reference for those who work in the protected agricultural field.
Safya El-Gayar, Abdelazim Negm, Mohamed Abdrabbo
Improving Agricultural Crop Yield and Water Productivity via Sustainable and Engineering Techniques
Of the many problems and challenges facing all arid regions, the shortage of water sources is the most important. Egypt is one such arid region. The total volume of Egypt’s water resources is 72 billion m3/year. The Nile River contributes 55.5 billion m3/year to this total. Recently, the water volume of the Nile River was threatened by the construction of a mega dam by Ethiopia near the border of Sudan. Irrigation consumes 70–80% of Egypt’s water resources. To prevent Egypt suffering from a severe water shortage and due to the increasing population and various external and internal challenges facing Egypt at present, very low per capita water limits have been introduced. To alleviate the suffering resulting from the water limits, all water users must apply all possible techniques to improve water use efficiency in these arid conditions. Examples of sustainable techniques that have been proven to show positive impacts on improving crop yield and water productivity and are also environmentally friendly include: (1) biofertilizers, (2) organic mulching, and (3) compost application. Egypt must apply all possible techniques to improve water use efficiency, starting from the mouth of the El-Rayah, passing through main canals then branch canals until the irrigation water reaches the plant. Examples of engineering techniques that have resulted in improved water productivity include: (1) laser land leveling, (2) new design of drip irrigation system, and (3) pulse irrigation.
Abdelraouf Ramadan Eid, Abdelazim Negm
Mega Agricultural Projects in Egypt
The ancient Egyptian drawings in their temples indicate that the River Nile was used for transportation and inland navigation, for the raising of fish and livestock, and for the production of grain and other food commodities through agriculture. The central power of the state at that time was mainly concentrated in the hands of the Pharaoh or the king who was the donor of the land, the facilitator of optimum production, and the recipient of part or all the crops harvested from the land. The story of Prophet Joseph and the ruler of Egypt which was narrated in almost all holy books shows that Egypt was the place from which all surrounding countries obtain their stocks of grain and other food commodities (legumes, beans, lentils, onions, garlic, etc.).
Egypt, therefore, is not only the gift of the River Nile, but the country is also devoted, since the early days of history for the production of food and fiber, and the Egyptians are all born with their feet in the mud, i.e., they are all born with farming skills.
Throughout history, Egypt changed several times from small-scale farming to medium-sized farms and eventually to mega agricultural projects.
This chapter follows the rout of agricultural development in Egypt during the last 200 years until the present time; the mega projects will have more emphasis especially those established during the last 20–30 years.
Dia El Din El Quosy
Role of the Participatory Management in Improvement of Water Use in Agriculture
Engagement of the stakeholders, fairness, and transparency are among the basic rules of the governance. Egypt started in 1986 to develop its irrigation systems via the so-called irrigation development project to apply the governance rules on the level of small irrigation called mesqa and on the level of branch canal too. To engage all stakeholders in the irrigation and agriculture system in Egypt, several water user associations were developed, and the farmers were trained. Demonstration irrigation canals owning to WUAs is being used to apply the activities of on-farm water management to demonstrate the benefits of good agriculture practices (GAP) to them. The final aim is to apply the best irrigation and agricultural practices to improve the productivity, incomes, and livelihood of WUAs that accomplished as a result of participatory management which increases agricultural production, water saving, and water productivity that reflects on national domestic production improvement performance. Different important aspects including legal status of water user associations on the branch canal, operation and maintenance of the sub-branch in partnership with water user associations, organizing (roles, responsibilities, and authorities) of water user associations to the branch canal, and training/technology transfer/communications and financial aspects are considered while applying the participatory irrigation management system. This participatory management model as an active cooperation between citizens and the governmental department is better achieved with close engagement of various agencies of Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) and Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) with the farmers. This chapter presents the success story of the participatory management system which was achieved through the implements of the irrigation development project and beyond.
Sayed A. Abd El-Hafez, Abdelazim M. Negm

Quantity and Quality of Water in the Egypt’s Water Resources Bank

Development of the Rating Curves for Egypt’s Water Resources Bank
Water resources in Lake Nasser supply Egypt with about 97% of its freshwater needs. It is the water resources bank of Egypt. Estimating the amount of water in the storage reservoirs (lakes) from time to another is essential. The most straightforward and cheapest way is the rating curves. In the present chapter, the authors used the remote sensing and GIS along with the available water levels observations for the years 1992, 2000, 2006, 2009, and 2012 and the previously developed 3D profile of the lake to develop the rating curves for Lake Nasser. Lake Nasser is the water resources bank of Egypt and it supplies Egypt with about 97% of its freshwater needs. The estimated capacities using the present approach were compared with the those measured by the Aswan High Dam Authority (AHDA) and were found accurate enough with the root mean square error values ranging between 4–5% and 2–3% for volume/level relationship and surface area/level relationship, respectively, with underestimation of 2% for the entire period from 1992 to 2012. Consequently, the developed rating curves (and equations) could be used to estimate the water volume (capacity) of Lake Nasser instead of the costly measurements. However, field measurements by AHDA and NRI are needed to update such equations.
Mohamed Elsahabi, Abdelazim M. Negm, Kamal A. Ali
Investigating the Water Quality of the Water Resources Bank of Egypt: Lake Nasser
This chapter aims to analyze the water quality of Lake Nasser in Egypt for irrigation and drinking purposes according to Egyptian and World Health Organization (WHO) standards. Water samples were collected from eight sampling locations. Water quality variables were measured in the lake in a field trip occurred in March 2014. The samples were analyzed for electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), magnesium content (MC), sodium percent (SP), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), residual sodium carbonate (RSC), and permeability index (PI). The minimum value of total dissolved solids was found in sample no 6 with a concentration of 192.90 mg/l, and the maximum value was found in sample no 8 with a value of 354.47 mg/l, which was taken from a sub-branch canal. The minimum EC was recorded in the sample no 6 with a value 190 μmho/cm, and the maximum EC was recorded in sample no 8 with a value of 705 μmho/cm, and the sodium percent values of Lake Nasser were 58.48–81.98. These values are high, so gypsum can be added to the soil to reduce the effect of high percentage of sodium in irrigation water. Study of all these characteristics indicated that the lake water quality is suitable for both drinking and irrigation purposes because of adequate values of total dissolved solids, EC and SP.
Mohamed E. El-Mahdy, Mohamed S. Abbas, Hassan M. Sobhy


Update, Conclusions, and Recommendations for Conventional Water Resources and Agriculture in Egypt
Water resources in Egypt are limited. The Nile River is the main water resource. Agriculture is the main water consumer of water resources. It consumes about 80–85% of all available water resources. The rapid growth of the population and the expected impacts of climate change on water resources and agriculture threaten current and future food security in Egypt. Policymakers and expertise give important attention to these challenges where so many efforts were done long time ago (and still doing) to enhance delivery and on-farm water use efficiencies. Egyptian policymakers pay special attention on the agricultural sector for its importance in ensuring food security to the rapidly growing population through the vital activities. These activities include (but not limited to) better utilization of agricultural resources, using drainage water reuse, reusing of treated wastewater, improving water use efficiency, managing groundwater resources, and developing a horizontal expansion area through reclaiming new lands. In addition, many irrigation improvement projects were conducted to increase water productivity. This chapter focuses on conventional water resources and sustainability of agricultural environment in Egypt that was documented during the book project. This chapter summarizes the critical conventional water resource challenges (in terms of conclusions and recommendations) of the existing main agri-food system and offering perceptions resulting from the cases in the volume. In addition, certain update and findings from a few recently published research work related to the conventional water resources covered themes are presented.
Abdelazim M. Negm, El-Sayed E. Omran, Mahmoud A. Mahmoud, Sommer Abdel-Fattah
Conventional Water Resources and Agriculture in Egypt
Abdelazim M. Negm
Copyright Year
Springer International Publishing
Electronic ISBN
Print ISBN