EGYPT: EIB pledges nearly €400m for drinking water and reuse

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EGYPT: EIB pledges nearly €400m for drinking water and reuse©ungvar/Shutterstock

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is announcing funding of around €400 million to improve drinking water supply and wastewater recycling in Egypt. The pledge was made on the sidelines of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27).

The European Investment Bank (EIB) aims to expand its financing portfolio in Egypt. The European financial institution will support climate action in the North African country with almost €400 million in funding for the water and sanitation sectors.

The pledge was made on the sidelines of the 27th United Nations Climate Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The €400 million loan will be provided under the Nexus on Food, Water and Energy (NWFE). The $10 billion programme, focused on green projects, was announced in July 2022 by the Egyptian government.

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In the water and sanitation (liquid) sectors, EIB financing will be used to build several infrastructures. Although the country of the Pharaohs already has several plants, these infrastructures are insufficient to meet the twofold challenge of population growth (approximately 107 million inhabitants in 2022) and the drought that is drying up fresh water. The future installations will bring the Egyptian government closer to the goal of universal access to drinking water. According to Sanitation and Water For All, the current rate of access to safe water in Egypt is 98%.

Increasing water supply to farmers

In addition to households, the drought is also affecting various sectors of activity in the country, particularly agriculture, which consumes 70 to 80% of water resources. Thus, the new water treatment plants built with EIB financing will provide recycled water for watering green areas and for irrigation. This alternative water resource will also help to reduce the withdrawal of fresh water from the Nile for irrigation and other activities. The ultimate goal is to save nearly 2 billion m3 of fresh water per year in Egypt.

The EUR 400 million announced by the EIB will add to a EUR 1 billion package already provided by the European Bank to Egypt for the implementation of drinking water projects and the reuse of treated wastewater.

The last EIB financing in Egypt was in January 2020. The EUR 120 million loan was for the expansion of the Alexandria West wastewater treatment plant by adding new units to treat at least 600 000 m3 of wastewater per day. In addition, secondary treatment will be provided for the wastewater, allowing it to be reused. The treated wastewater will be reused for the maintenance of Alexandria’s green spaces or for agriculture.

Inès Magoum

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