25 Jul 2012 by OOSKAnews Correspondent

CAIRO, Egypt — On the day that Egypt President Mohammed Morsi appointed former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Hisham Kandil as the country’s new Prime Minister, OOSKAnews can report that residents of seven Egyptian governorates have taken to the streets in the past few days to protest severe shortages of drinking and irrigation water throughout the country. The protests have turned violent in some areas.

In Beni Sueif governorate, one farmer was killed and many more people were injured during a conflict over irrigation water.

Protesters in Menoufiya blocked highways as part of their demonstration against the steadily decreasing amount of irrigation water over the past couple of months. Crops have died off on hundreds of hectares of land as a result.

In Minya, local villagers angry about water shortages and water pollution clashed with irrigation officials.

Some 40,000 cubic liters of industrial wastewater is dumped into the Nile River in the area each day.

In Fayyoum, hundreds of people protesting water deficits blocked off a highway and set fire to tires.

Hundreds more gathered in Qalioubiya, in the Nile Delta region, to demand that new treatment plants be built to solve the chronic water problems there.

Water officials have promised to connect affected areas in the governorate to treatment plants in neighboring cities.

Protests erupted in Gharbiya and North Sinai provinces after drinking water supply began deteriorating in recent weeks.

The Egyptian government is trying to get foreign funding for irrigation improvement projects that will partly address the problems.

The government also launched a national plan to renovate and replace old irrigation facilities.

German development bank (KfW) earlier this year extended a soft loan of $100 million USD to finance the Integrated Irrigation Improvement Project. The project aims to improve irrigation on around 83,000 hectares of agricultural land in the Delta governorates of Gharbiya, Kafr al Sheikh and Beheira.

And the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) last week allocated $80 million USD for a variety of projects to renovate or replace old irrigation and wastewater pumping stations nationwide.

Source: OOSKA News