Irrigation minister calls for rationing water consumption

Irrigation and Water Resources Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil called on Tuesday for austere water consumption, citing "deep disagreements" with Nile Basin countries over water shares.

In April 2010, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania signed an agreement in Entebbe to redistribute allocations of Nile water. Egypt, along with Sudan, boycotted the deal, saying it was non-binding.

Burundi joined the Entebbe agreement in March 2011, paving the way for its approval.

Egypt, which receives the lion's share of Nile water, has rejected deals that do not preserve its historic rights.

Egypt's share of Nile waters stands at 51 billion square meters annually, according to a deal signed with Sudan on 1959, which gives the latter 18 billion square meters of water per year.

During a seminar on the Nile water crisis on Monday, Qandil said the political and popular campaign for rapprochement with Nile Basin countries, which Egypt pursued after the January revolution, does not suggest that all differences have been resolved.

"The differences are deep and cannot be ignored, but we are trying to overcome them," the minister said, calling for establishing confidence and strengthening collaboration with Nile countries.

Qandil urged for austere water policies and developing the country's water resources.

He added that international laws protect Egypt’s historic rights and its present and future water consumption, without harming the water security of other Nile countries.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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