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New bill aims to reform water usage

By-Metwalli Salem-Almasry Alyoum | 23 September 2009

The Egyptian Council of Ministers will discuss in its meeting next week a new bill prepared by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation on private sector participation in management of water resources. Following council approval, the bill will be sent to the People's Assembly and Shura Council in the upcoming parliamentary session.

According to Minister of Water Resources Mohamed Nasser Eddin Allah, the bill will regulate the participation of for-profit companies in water resource management. The regulations will extend to Nile waters, rain- and groundwater.

The bill will also regulate private sector participation in the re-use of the agricultural and industrial wastewater, following its treatment to make sure it is safe for agricultural use, says the minister. The bill also provides for the establishment of desalination stations for sea water and semi-saline underground wells.

In press statements yesterday, the water ministry stated that the new bill consists of six sections that include 17 articles. These address three levels of participation, the first of which involves the creation of associations for water users in lands previously irrigated with waterways and public wells.

These associations will take charge of running, operating and maintaining the waterways and drainage facilities located on the outskirts of these areas. According to Nasser Eddin Allah's office, the proposed law establishes rules whereby the public and private sectors will maintain irrigation and drainage facilities in accordance with rules already in place under the state's public tenders and auctions regulations. The ministry will also implement oversight.

The bill hopes to achieve efficiency in water usage and ration consumption of water in canals and other waterways, said the minister

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