Parched Egypt Unveils $2.5 Billion Plan To Build 17 Desalination Plants Powered By Green Energy

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Egypt is planning to build 17 desalination water plants powered by solar green renewable energy to tackle severe water scarcity that it suffers, Bloomberg reported.

The government is seeking domestic and foreign investors to join with the country's sovereign wealth to fund the $2.5 billion initiative,

“Egypt is keen to build a sustainable technology base to control its destiny when it comes to water security,” Soliman said in an interview. The wealth fund targets taking a minority stake in all the plants alongside the winning bidders, Bloomberg quoted country's SWF CEO Ayman Soliman as saying.

To address the acute water shortage in the country, Egypt is already building 65 desalination plants distributed among six governorates that are Matrouh, South Sinai, Suez, Ismailiyah, North Sinai, and the Red Sea with total daily production of those is 750,000 cubic meters. Many of these plants are set to be commissioned this year.

A desalination plant turns salt water into water that is fit to drink. The most commonly used technology used for the process is reverse osmosis where an external pressure is applied to push solvents from an area of high-solute concentration to an area of low-solute concentration through a membrane. However desalination plants are expensive because of high energy costs.

In July 2021, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi approved a loan agreement between Egypt the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to establish two desalination plants in the new cities of Rafah and Bir al-Abed, North Sinai.

Egyptian state faces major challenges in the water sector, given the limited water resources that do not exceed 55 billion cubic meters — consisting of Egypt’s share of the Nile water, in addition to a small amount of rainwater and groundwater. But the water requirements of Arab world's most populous nation comprising of 100-million people is estimated to be about 114 billion cubic meters annually.

In the recent times, tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia are escalating, especially after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in May that his country will build more than 100 small and medium dams across Nile in the new fiscal year in different parts of the country.

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