Sat. May 25th, 2024

Contradictions in the Desert: Unraveling Egypt’s Large-scale Irrigation Amidst Claims of Water Scarcity

Contradictions in the Desert: Unraveling Egypt’s Large-scale Irrigation Amidst Claims of Water Scarcity

How can Egypt, grappling with concerns of water scarcity, manage a large desert irrigation project in the New Delta region? This question is essential when considering Egypt’s stance on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and its own large-scale initiatives like the Development Corridor.

Egypt has been increasingly vocal about a perceived water shortage as Ethiopia progresses with the construction of the GERD, which they fear may impact their water supply. Yet, in an interesting dichotomy, Egypt is also busy with a massive desert irrigation project within its own borders. This substantial endeavor, part of the national “Development Corridor” initiative, aims to transform the arid Western Desert into agricultural lands. The size of the project, coupled with Egypt’s claims of water scarcity, sparks curiosity over their position on the GERD issue.

Understanding the New Delta project requires a look at the significant infrastructural developments in progress. The transformation includes the construction of artificial rivers, canals, and drains in the heart of the desert, changing the region’s topography dramatically. What was once barren desert land is now being flattened for agricultural use, and new roads are being built.

Moreover, in a display of resource management, over 22,000 pivot irrigation devices are being manufactured and installed by Egypt to manage water distribution over a massive 2.8 million acres. That’s nearly as large as the existing Delta region, home to cities, villages, houses, schools, and universities across 2.9 million acres.

The New Delta project isn’t only about physical transformation but also a showcase of local production prowess. Everything from the production of cast iron pipes, pumps, and pivot irrigation devices, to the cultivation of crops, seeds, and fertilizers, speaks volumes about Egypt’s manufacturing capabilities.

Looking forward, the New Delta project is set to bolster Egypt’s agricultural output significantly:

1. Wheat production is slated to surge from 9 million tons to 14.2 million tons by 2025.
2. Corn production is estimated to grow from 7 million tons to 10.4 million tons by the same year.
3. Sugar production is also projected to rise from 2.4 million tons to 4 million tons by 2025.
The scale of engineering works being executed for this project dwarfs even that of the High Dam project, with estimates suggesting it is three times the size. This implies a considerable allocation of resources and effort, a testament to Egypt’s commitment to the successful completion of the New Delta project.

The engineers and workers at the heart of this mammoth project labor tirelessly in the Western Desert, turning barren land into a potential agricultural oasis. Their efforts not only demonstrate the enormity of the task at hand but also the commitment to this ambitious project.

However, the implications of this project cast doubt on Egypt’s claims of water scarcity due to the GERD. Hence, it leads us back to our initial question: Amidst concerns of severe water shortage, how does Egypt sustain such an extensive desert irrigation project?

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