By RANDA EL-BANNA
CAIRO: Al-Azhar University Geography Professor Sabry Hamed said he has drawn up a national development project for desert land reclamation that would involve job opportunities for 10 million Egyptians, Youm7 reported.
Hamed’s plan is based on seawater desalination and the exploitation of Egypt’s natural resources to generate electricity through solar and wind energy.
Hamed told The Cairo Post that his project involves sprinkler and drip irrigation systems which use only 50 percent of the water normally used for irrigation purposes.
“If we talk in numbers, we would say that Egypt has eight million cultivated acres, so if we were able to irrigate half of this area using sprinkler and drip irrigation systems instead of flood irrigation, we would save between 50 to 75 percent of the 15 billion cubic meters of water currently used for irrigation purposes,” Hamed said.
He pointed out that sprinkler and drip irrigation systems would not be used to irrigate some crops where flooding is necessary, like rice.
“This should be a national plan to be implemented all over the country,” Hamad said, adding that the Principal Bank For Development and Agricultural Credit (PBDAC) should have a role in helping peasants apply the new irrigation systems through providing soft loans to install new irrigation devices on their farmlands.
Egypt may be facing an impending water crisis after Ethiopia decided to move ahead with plans to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
“Experts claim that Egypt will lose 90 billion cubic meters of water within three years after building the dam,” Deputy President of Alexandria University Roshdy Zahran was quoted as saying by Al-Masry Al-Youmduring the Egyptian African Cooperation conference held at Alexandria University on March 2014.
During the conference, Zahran warned that Egypt and Sudan will face “water scarcity” challenges if no international, diplomatic or strategic actions were taken.
Chairman of the Sudan and Nile Basin Department at Al-Ahram Center for Political Studies, Hany Raslan said that the decrease in Egypt’s share of Nile water will negatively impact power generation by three percent, according to Hadeeth al-Alam news on May 29, 2013.