Egypt’s parliament approves law imposing fees on irrigation water

Egypt’s parliament approves law imposing fees on irrigation water
Egyptian farmers supply their farmland with water from a canal, fed by the Nile river, in the village of Baharmis on the outskirts of Giza province on Dec. 1, 2019. (File/AFP)
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Updated 31 March 2021

Egypt’s parliament approves law imposing fees on irrigation water

Egypt’s parliament approves law imposing fees on irrigation water
  • House spokesman Hanafy El-Gebaly said the final vote for the law will only be done after a revision by the State Council
  • The parliament said the law aims to introduce a more effective system for water resource management in the country

DUBAI: The Egyptian parliament has approved a controversial government-drafted law governing fees for irrigation water usage, daily Ahram Online reported.
House spokesman Hanafy El-Gebaly said the final vote for the law will only be done after a revision by the State Council, the report added.
A report by the parliament said the law aims to introduce a more effective system for water resource management in the country, and “address pollution and waste water at a time [when] the country is facing dwindling water resources and adverse climate change.”
But many complained on social media, saying the new legislation aims to sell irrigation water to farmers.
The original draft of the law stated that farmers will have to pay $636 for a five-year renewable license to use and operate water pumping machines on the Nile River, main water currents, canals, irrigation networks and reservoirs.
Hesham El-Hosary, chairman of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Irrigation Committee,
told reporters on Tuesday that the committee decided to reduce the license price from $636 to $318. 
However, “when the law came up for discussion before the House, members of parliament approved to further cut the payment to stand at just $79.5 every five years or $15.9 per year,” Ahram Online quoted El-Hosary.
Irrigation ministry spokesman Mohamed Ghanem said in the report that the new law “does not aim to sell irrigation water to farmers, but it only seeks to rationalize the use of water from the Nile and main water currents by imposing fees on the operation of giant machines.”