Every once in a while, the level of pollution in the Nile rises, which requires halting the drinking water from stations that supply many areas of Egyptian cities because the Nile water no longer meets cleanliness standards. These rises in pollution are often caused by the Nile's low water level.
Because of the Nile pollution crisis and its impact on drinking water, citizens are worried about the quality of their drinking water. Some Egyptian villagers are protesting and are angry at the government for being slow at resolving this problem, which could result in environmental disasters if the causes of pollution are not addressed and if not enough Nile water is available to wash away the pollution to the Mediterranean Sea.
Cases of mass poisoning have appeared in various areas as a result of polluted drinking water. Although there is a different reason each time, the irrigation minister is the one who is often held responsible for the water pollution. The Egyptian government has even been sued for the contamination of drinking water coming from plants that withdraw water from the Nile. Cleaning the Nile’s water requires opening up the valves and releasing extra water, especially during winter when the Nile’s water flow decreases.
The Rosetta branch, which is one of the Nile’s two branches and passes through the Nile Delta down to the Mediterranean Sea, has the highest pollution level, with increasing concentrations of ammonia and dissolved salts. This pollution kills fish and affects the drinking water stations in the provinces of Kafr el-Sheikh, Buhaira and Damietta, where most drinking water stations have stopped operating.
Government officials blame the problem on three main reasons: low levels of water in the Nile, especially during winter when less water is discharged from behind the High Dam; the presence of fish farms on the Rosetta branch; and some villages disposing their waste directly on the agricultural banks, which drains into the Rosetta branch.