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Matching irrigation supply and demand in Egypt




Azim, Ragab Abdel, author
Viala, Eric, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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The proper assessment of water needs is a critical step towards water use efficiency. This is especially true in Egypt where the unique source for water resources is Egypt's share of the Lake Nasser reservoir, behind High Aswan Dam (HAD). Volumes of water have to be released from HAD in a timely manner in order to satisfy the needs of water users, mostly irrigating farmers. Until the mid-1990s, irrigation demands were known with some accuracy since Egyptian farmers were organized to grow prescribed crops. Since then, the Government of Egypt has progressively freed them from any obligation, and farmers are now able to individually choose their cropping patterns. While this has resulted in significant increases in yield and farming incomes, it has also complicated the task of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI): the MWRI now would release water from Lake Nasser based on "indicative" cropping patterns and calendars. This sometimes resulted in a significant "mismatch" of supplies and demands with water volumes not being available to farmers when needed, or eventually flowing to the Mediterranean Sea without being utilized. This has led the MWRI to design and implement a routine and systematic collection of crop information from farmers (through the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, MALR) to the MWRI. This system is known as MISD, Matching Irrigation Supplies and Demands. It has been developed in the late 1990s with technical assistance from USAID. This paper highlights the MISD process, components, issues and suggestions for improvement.


Presented at Ground water and surface water under stress: competition, interaction, solutions: a USCID water management conference on October 25-28, 2006 in Boise, Idaho.

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