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Water Scarcity in egypt

Humanities assessment #1 t2 2015

Gabriel Wolvetang

on 9 June 2015

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Transcript of Water Scarcity in egypt

Water scarcity defined

Water scarcity is the lack of sufficient water in an area. There are 2 types of water scarcity, physical water scarcity and economic water scarcity. Physical water scarcity is where water is not an abundant resource. Economic water scarcity is the dreaded situation where there is insufficient money or human capacity to find or purchase water. Water scarcity affect 2.8 billion people at least once a month around the world.
Water Scarcity in Egypt
Many parts of the globe experience water scarcity. One of the continents that is affected the most is Africa. Africa has bad cases of both physical and economic water scarcity, nearly every country in Africa suffers from water scarcity of some sort. Water scarcity in much of North Africa is not estimated because most of North Africa is desert where only a small part of the population lives. Both the people living in the desert and the people living in the more densely populated coastal areas are in need of a reliable water source. A solution would be to harness the groundwater in the aquifers underneath the ground. To harness this water people could drill wells alternatively the coastal areas could use desalination technology.

Physical water scarcity in North Africa is a huge problem. This is because the average rainfall is very low resulting in lack of surface and ground water. The reason that average precipitation is very low is because most of the precipitation in Africa is happening above the Primary Highland to the East of Africa. The prevailing winds blow the condensed water to the east coast of Africa and immediately some precipitation occurs. The rest of the rain clouds are blown onto the African Primary Highland where the rest of the precipitation occurs, this water runs off into lakes and rivers, replenishing groundwater. But behind the Primary Highland of Africa there is one of the biggest rain shadows ever. The precipitation only hits one side of the highland so the other side is left very dry and barren with very little or even in some extreme cases no water. One of the main countries effected by this rain shadow is Egypt. On one side of Egypt is Asia, which doesn't supply any rain and on the other side is the Highland. Because of the rain shadow the only water source that Egypt has is the Nile. But Ethiopia is building a dam that will stop more water getting to Egypt, causing the water supply to be even more limited. The physical water scarcity in Africa effects the community in negative ways.

The causes of the issue

In addition to the physical water shortage in Egypt and water overuse by farmers, pollution of the Nile is a swiftly growing problem. The Nile is now one of the most polluted rivers in the world. This is because of all the dumping done in this river by industries and agriculture. Because the Nile River runs through many urban areas, as many as 700 industrial facilities dump toxic waste into Egypt’s drinking water (the Nile River). There are also many agricultural industries that use pesticides with pollutants such as salt, phosphates and nitrogen. Water passes over the crops and takes these pesticides into the river through the process of runoff. When in the river these pollutants have adverse effects on aquatic life and the river’s overall health. Human wastewater from slums is also dumped straight into the Nile River. This is done because the government cannot support the costs of treating the wastewater. The water also contains diseases and parasites, which have adverse effects on the humans who ingest the contaminated water. The factors mentioned decrease the suitability of the Nile’s water for irrigation and human consumption and has even raised concerns from the United Nations.

Impact of the issue

The overuse of water in Egypt has caused a number of devastating problems. One of the major problems in Egypt is the erosion of the Nile Delta. Erosion of the Nile delta has dramatically decreased since the building of the Aswan dam in the 1960’s, but erosion is still one of the major problems in Egypt as seen by this picture (figure#1). Egyptian farmers relied on the annual floods to fertilise their soil with silt and clay. But when the Aswan dam was built to prevent floods the silt and clay were trapped behind the dam wall. Farmers at the end of the river get much less water than ones at the start, this is because the governments scheduled water plan is not reliable. When the farmers at the end of the River finally do get their water, they over-irrigate in panic because they want to make up for days without water. In doing this they harm their own crops and soil. Ethiopia currently has plans to build a dam to generate electricity for Ethiopians. The Egyptians drew the short straw in this deal because now they get even less water from the Nile River. Ethiopians have offered to sell some of the electricity made by this dam to the Egyptians but this offering just angered even more people and a 16-year-old farmer even died in the fighting for water. Egypt only gets 55.5 billion cubic metres of water for it’s 83 million People. The fight over the water distribution between Egypt and Ethiopia could potentially lead to conflict between the two countries.

figure #1
Management of the issue

Living with water scarcity can be hard on many people. In Egypt Agriculture uses roughly 85% of the 55.5 billion cubic metres of the water supply annually. If farmers could use less water, then there would be more for public consumption. A method used in the towns of Abu Minqur and Imam Malek is drip irrigation, whereas most Egyptian farmers still use flood irrigation. This method allows water to drip slowly to the roots of the plant through a network of tubes. This method significantly saves water because the plant is receiving the water specifically into the roots system, where it is needed. Farmers have also adapted by drilling wells to access groundwater aquifers where water is stored underground. Other farmers have adapted by planting crops like soybeans, which require less water. If all farmers would use more modern and innovative irrigation and agriculture techniques then that would likely reduce the water stress on Egypt. However, currently the adoption of effective strategies is only occurring on a very limited scale.

Geography of Egypt

Egypt is located at the northeast corner of Africa. It is bordered by the Red Sea, Sudan, Libya and Israel. There are deserts running through most of Egypt. These deserts give Egypt a arid, dry climate. The Nile River is the main river running through Egypt, this river is also one of the main sources of water. To get the most of this water, in the 60’s Egypt built the Aswan dam in Aswan. The population in Egypt just surpassed 83 million and is steadily growing as seen by this graph (Graph #1). Because of the growing population and lack of water Egypt is predicted to run out of clean water by 2025
(Graph #1)
Future action required

The Nile needs to be healthy so that Egyptians can have a sustainable water source. To save Egypt’s precious water more efficient irrigation methods such as drip irrigation need to be put in place for all of Egypt’s farmers. The government could pay for part of the installation of the drip irrigation systems. To ensure sufficient water flow in the Nile a political agreement with Ethiopia is urgently required. Proper disposal of toxic waste and natural wastes needs to be implemented so pollution of the Nile from factories and slums is eliminated. With all of these methods in place Egypt’s water supply could flourish and become one of the best in North Africa.

Coastal Egypt
Middle Egypt
Lower Egypt
In Egypt water use in the downstream area of the Nile exceeds Egypt's allocated use of the river. An analysis of the amount of people and farmers that live in the coastal area shows that farmers use the vast majority of the water and that their water use consumes more than 90% of the water flowing in the Nile on an annual basis.
Upon researching Egypt I was surprised that it is predicted that Egypt will run out of water by 2025. This surprised me because even though there is a lack of rainfall in Egypt the Nile river is running through the country. Because in Egypt only 6% of the land is suitable for farming. The Egyptians use flood irrigation, this is an outdated technique where tons of water are pumped over crops. This technique costs Egypt 3 billion gallons of precious water per year. The pesticides and chemicals used in this farming technique runoff into the Nile further polluting Egypt's drinking water. Due to the lack of water treatment plants in Cairo, sewerage from slums are also making their way into the Nile. A solution to solving this problem is on its way. Scientists and engineers are working toward applications that treat grey water, making it reusable for watering crops. It is a challenge to stop pollution of the Nile but it can be done with the help of other countries and the contribution of scientists.

2.http://www.irinnews.org/report/93997/egypt-water-challenges-forcing-a-rethink-on-usage written this source is reliable because it is a news website What is the threat of water scarcity
3.http://www.scotsman.com/news/world/egypt-faces-threat-to-harvest-from-water-shortage-1-3467217 written this source is reliable because it is also a news website why is there water scarcity
4.http://sitemaker.umich.edu/sec004_gp5/pollution Written this source is reliable because it is from a university what are the pollutants of the Nile river
1. http://www.ecomena.org/tag/water-scarcity-in-egypt/ written this source is reliable because i saw the information on other websites What is the situation pollution in the Nile
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