Water Management Reform Programme

Project description

Title: Water Management Reform Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Egypt
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI); Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR)
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

With the country’s predominantly arid climate, agricultural production in Egypt depends on irrigation. Limited water resources and a growing population mean there is a shortage of water for food production. The demand for and supply of water, and the maintenance of irrigation facilities are insufficiently coordinated between the various levels of the relevant institutions. Especially at times of peak demand, the supply of water becomes limited at the outer ends of the irrigation canals.

The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation (MALR) want to improve the ways in which water is delivered and used, while at the same time securing the quantity and quality of water resources in the long term. One of the main problems they face is the shortage of human and institutional capacities for the integrated management of water resources at the various levels (national, regional and local).

The capacities of those involved in the irrigation sector (MWRI, MALR and water users) to carry out integrated water resources management have been improved at national, regional and local levels.

Measures are concentrated in selected project regions in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt. GIZ is working in five different areas of activity, including support for institutional reforms and the development of participatory water management plans. Efforts are also being made to improve the quality of water in drains as this will increase the general availability of water. Finally, the project provides gender-specific advisory services intended to strengthen the position of female water users.

As a result of GIZ’s work, water user organisations at the local level have begun operating more effectively. They are increasingly willing to assume social responsibility by supporting and participating in the planning for local water needs and the maintenance of infrastructure. By the end of 2014, models for decentralised and participatory water management plans had been devised in two districts. They address the needs of around 4,800 farmers working on an area of 9,500 hectares.

Two innovative ways of improving water quality have been to design in-situ plant-based water treatment facilities (wetlands) in drainage channels, and to provide advice to farms on composting. The amount of agricultural residues entering the drainage system is also being reduced. In all, some 120 extension workers and 740 farmers have so far received training in the production of organic fertiliser by composting.

Meanwhile, an institutionalised and software-based system of complaints management for water users has been piloted. This will play a key role in ensuring more transparent and customer-focused service provision for irrigated agriculture.

Structural improvements have been introduced in the participating ministries. These include the adaptation of mandates and organisational structures, the strengthening of management skills at the middle and upper levels of MWRI, and the creation of decentralised structures and advisory services in MALR.

Some 120 men and women from all levels of the agricultural extension service, as well as representatives of other departments in MALR, have benefited from training in gender-sensitive methods of data collection and delivering advice.


Kirsten Nyman