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Egypt Spends $50 Million USD for Water, Sanitation in Alexandria and Matrouh

CAIRO, Egypt

The Egyptian government last week announced $50 million USD in funding for drinking water projects in Alexandria and Marsa Matrouh governorates.

Alexandria will spend $17 million USD to to expand and upgrade Al Siouf Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

Located in eastern Alexandria, the plant is currently producing 960,000 cubic meters of water; this is supposed to be increased to 1.1 million cubic meters, according to governorate officials.

“The expansions at the plant will help meet the increasing demand for drinking water in the area,” said Ahmed Shehata, chairman of the Alexandrian Company for Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewers.

“There are more urban expansions in the area, with an increasing number of industrial and tourist projects in Al Siouf and the surrounding areas of Abu Qir, Maamoura, Mandara, Sidi Bishr and Al Raml,” he said.

Shehata said his company was also working on connecting all desalination plants in the governorate in order to avoid supply disruptions during routine maintenance.

At the same time, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development allocated $33 million USD to drinking water and sewerage projects in Marsa Matrouh.

According to ministry officials, $3 million USD will go toward upgrading the main desalination plant in the governorate.

“The government has also allocated $1 million USD to purchase 19 trucks carrying water to remote areas in the governorate,” said Minister of Housing Fatahi al Baradei.

Ministry officials said the government would provide another $1 million USD to build a reservoir at the Siwa Drinking Water Plant.

Other reservoirs will be built in throughout the coastal governorate in an effort to end drinking water shortages, especially during the summer.

Marsa Matrouh’s water resources are limited. Al-Hammam Canal carries around 180,000 cubic meters to the governorate from neighboring Alexandria every day during the summer. This amount is reduced to 130,000 cubic meters per day during the winter, which leads to shortages.

Consequently, Matrouh is increasingly turning to desalinated water.

 “The rest of allocations, around $28 million USD, will be earmarked to complete sanitation projects in the governorate by the end of this year,” said al Baradei.

Also last week, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development announced the cancellation of a public-private partnership project to build a wastewater treatment station in 6th of October city, citing lack of funds.

“The Ministry of Housing does not have enough funds to allocate to the project,” said Atir Hannoura, head of the PPP Unit at the Finance Ministry.

The project’s cancellation could be a setback to government efforts to rebuild confidence in the country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment.

A financial consultant -- Ernst & Young -- had already been selected for the project, and 50 companies from 12 countries had already applied for prequalification.

The 20-year, $163 million USD contract included design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of a 250,000 cubic meter per day wastewater treatment plant that would separate industrial wastewater from sewage.

Part of the station is already being built, and will reach a capacity of 100,000 cubic meters per day.

The contract also called for operation and maintenance of an adjacent plant that also has a capacity of 100,000 cubic meters per day.