Participants are seen in silhouette as they look at a screen showing a world map with climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 8, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
CAIRO – 7 June 2019: Climate Change impact caused economic losses estimated at $225 billion around the globe in 2018, said Egyptian Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Atti in his speech at the 18th session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Congress in Geneva on Thursday.
Floods that hit East Africa in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Djibouti and Burundi have also affected millions of people, he said, adding that Egypt has recently been hit by a scorching heat wave reached more than 45°C degrees.
The Minister said that dealing with the climate change impacts is urgent through adopting new approaches to further research and community participation.
Beside the climate change impact on water, Abdel Attai said that the high demand of fresh water is another major challenge faces countries worldwide, calling for taking necessary measures that guarantee the success of sustainable development policies.
In his speech at the opening session of the first Cairo Water Week (CWW) in October 2018, Abdel Atti said that Egypt’s per capita share of water declined to 570 cm3 per year in 2018, below the international standards of 1000 m3/year.
Therefore, the government is implementing the National Water Plan in Egypt (2017-2037) includes strategic projects of an investment cost of not less than $50 billion.
Egypt suffers from an annual 21 billion cubic meters gap between water consumption and production. The consumption reached 110 billion cubic meters, while Egypt currently has 60 million cubic meters annually, he added.
Egypt has entered into a diplomatic and political battle with some Nile basin countries over its share of the Nile water. The disagreement started in 2010, when five Nile basin countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda) signed the Entebbe Agreement, per which the two 1929 and 1959 deals conducted during British colonization can be relinquished.
The two deals had allocated 80 billion cubic meters of Nile water to Egypt (55.5 billion), and Sudan (18.5 billion); they also granted Egypt the right to veto against projects that can be established in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan that may cause harm to its share.
Moreover, Egypt’s concern over its share was escalated after Ethiopia started building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. The tributary feeds 80 percent of the Nile’s water to downstream states.