IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
1. Water availability, use and management
AbstractIMPLEMENTING IWRM IN EGYPT:
Eng. Maher Khodary , Eng. Nabil Fawzi ,
water resources is becoming an increasingly difficult task, from technical, economic, social, and political
perspectives. This is especially true in Egypt where multiple and growing demands are competing for a limited water
In order to deal with increasingly complex technical issues, the Ministry of Water Resources and
Irrigation (MWRI) has over the years set up various specialized units and departments able to deal with drainage,
groundwater, water quality, and irrigation improvement issues. This has facilitated the implementation of specific
projects and activities but the resulting fragmentation drastically hampers cross-sectoral coordination, timely
decision-making, and thus modern (integrated) water management.
Acknowledging this situation, the MWRI
has adopted Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) as official policy. Although IWRM has been a
common buzzword in water communities around the world for some time now, it is often a challenge for many water
managers to propose a practical translation of the concept or outline a concrete implementation process.
USAID-funded LIFE-IWRM Project has over the past three years provided technical assistance to the MWRI, in
order to turn the IWRM concept into practical implementation with concrete benefits for MWRI staff and water
users. This has produced, over an area of 1.2 M acres (15% of Egypt’s irrigated area), the following outputs:
Consolidation of MWRI local delegations through the establishment and empowerment of 27 Integrated Water
Management Districts (IWMDs);
- Effective Water User Participation via the formation and
strengthening of over 600 Branch Canal Water User Associations (BCWUAs); and
and procedures for systematic data collection and analysis to support decentralized decision making.
benefits in terms of improved water management have been acknowledged by both Ministry officials and water
• From the establishment of IWMDs:
o Pooling of resources, equipment and skills (e.g.
consolidation of irrigation & drainage functions): IWMD managers are able to carry out more activities, better serve
water users, and use equipment more intensively;
o Streamlined communication channels: MWRI General
Directors (4-5 districts), are pleased with the empowerment and responsiveness of IWMDs; and
Decentralized and simplified decision-making (notably for water distribution).
• From the involvement of
o IWMD staff mention improved communications with water users, fewer violations and
complaints, improved conflict resolution, and better identification and prioritization of maintenance needs;
Water users welcome the enhanced communication with IWMD staff, improved internal conflict resolution, and
better tackling of their needs and priorities; most importantly, water users and stakeholders value the “single window
office” that the IWMD became.
• From the water data systems:
o IWMD managers and MWRI
General directors enjoy access to routine and reliable data for analysis and decision taking;
o Water users’
awareness and participation is supported by the provision and explanation of water data.
Finally and more
importantly, detailed guidelines have been produced to provide the MWRI with the step by step processes
necessary to replicate these achievements over the entire country.