Egypt fears decline in Nile water levels this year, say experts

Egypt fears decline in Nile water levels this year,  say experts
A picture taken on September 9, 2017 shows a view of the Nile river in the southern Egyptian city of Luxor. (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2019

Egypt fears decline in Nile water levels this year, say experts

Egypt fears decline in Nile water levels this year,  say experts
  • A report issued by the ministry said that the High Dam was prepared to receive the rise in water levels that marks the start of the 2019-2020 water year, which begins in August

CAIRO: The Egyptian Irrigation Ministry announced the decline in the Nile water by about 5 billion cubic meters from last year, according to an official statement.
The government declared a state of maximum emergency in all governorates during the coming period to ensure the country’s water needs, especially drinking water, to meet the demand for household uses and periodic monitoring of agricultural land irrigation.
According to the Ministry of Irrigation, the flood season runs from Aug. 1 until mid-November, and all the agencies of the ministry took major measures, from the High Dam Unit to the irrigation sector.
Abdullatif Khalid, head of the irrigation sector in the ministry, confirmed that the current level of water in the Nile River is 55.5 billion cubic meters. He said that this quantity is low because drinking water is consuming 11 billion cubic meters, as against 7 billion last year. Industrial usage consumes 8 billion cubic meters and the rest is distributed to agriculture.
“Egypt will certainly be affected by this decline, so we call for rationalization and austerity in water consumption,” he said, pointing out that population growth and climate change are factors that increase the demand for more water.
A report issued by the ministry said that the High Dam was prepared to receive the rise in water levels that marks the start of the 2019-2020 water year, which begins in August.

The necessary maintenance works were carried out for its installations, emergency floods and gates.
The water levels start to rise as flood waters arrive from Ethiopia via the blue Nile, passing through Khartoum before arriving at Lake Nasser in Aswan Governorate. The water comes partly from rains on the Ethiopian hills, and partly from the opening of dams by the Khartoum authorities (Al-Roussiris, Sennar-Merwi, Upper Atbara, Sitit-Khashm Al-Qurba) in preparation for the start of the new floodwater storage, which begins in August every year. The season ends in October-November.
Dr. Iman Al-Sayyid, head of the irrigation ministry, said that the ministry has monitoring devices for the indicators of the rainy season in the Nile basin, pointing out that the rate of rainfall is expected to be lower than previous years.
She added that the low rainfall rates on the Nile Basin countries — specifically Ethiopia — is behind the decline in water levels of the Nile, confirming that the low rate of rainfall is a natural phenomenon for Egypt, Sudan and the rest of the Nile Basin countries.
She said that the ministry has an early-warning system to monitor the water situation on a continuous basis, and has a strategy to deal with emergencies.


Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Updated 56 min 1 sec ago

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew

Gaza imposes tighter virus restrictions, extends curfew
  • Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries
  • Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY: New measures to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus in the Gaza Strip were announced on Thursday by the interior ministry of Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.
Mosques, schools, universities and kindergartens will be closed from Saturday in the Gaza Strip, excluding high schools and nurseries, the interior ministry said in a statement.
A night-time curfew was also set to start from Saturday, lasting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 am, while a full lockdown will be imposed on Fridays and Saturdays from December 11 through to the end of the month.
Shops and other premises must close by 6:00 p.m. and people must be home by 6:30 pm, compared to 8:00 p.m. under the previous curfew rules.
Medical and political sources warned last week of a spike in Covid-19 cases in the Gaza Strip, saying the situation was “out of control.”
The enclave, a small, densely populated territory with two million inhabitants under an Israeli blockade, closed its borders early in the pandemic and only allowed a limited number of people to enter, requiring them to isolate for three weeks in quarantine centers.
Up until mid-August, authorities in Gaza had only recorded around 100 Covid-19 cases.
But in the past two weeks, containment of the virus has deteriorated in Gaza, with hundreds of new infections announced per day, resulting in a total of 23,023 cases and 122 deaths.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar is among those who have recently been infected by the virus, the movement said Tuesday.