The Egyptian Government has made significant strides in recent decades in terms of drinking water supply. However, there has not been as much progress in access to sanitation. The wastewater treatment rate in rural areas remains very low (only 20% in 2012). This situation gives cause for concern in high population density areas, such as the Nile Delta. This has a negative impact on the pollution of the Nile and the system of irrigation canals from wastewater, as well as very serious consequences. It poses a threat to agriculture and drinking water production, and constitutes a danger to the health of the neighboring population.
All these factors prompted AFD and its European partners to implement IWSP 1 in mainly rural governorates, and to earmark the bulk of the planned investments for sanitation. In the context of a program approach, a list of projects complying with eligibility criteria was validated following discussions with the four water and sanitation companies concerned and a steering committee including all the stakeholders.
The program’s objective is to make an overall improvement to the water and sanitation service in the Delta (governorates of Beheira, Damiette, Gharbeya and Charkeya), in order to reduce groundwater pollution and health risks for the population. The specific objectives are to:
- Improve the service in terms of quantity and quality in four Delta governorates, thanks to an investment program focused on the most urgent needs;
- Consolidate the sector reform, by building the investment planning and strategic management capacities of the water holding company (the contracting authority);
- Build the capacities of companies to plan and make their investments and improve their technical and financial performance to allow them to recover their operating and maintenance costs.
The program is implemented in four Delta governorates, where the water and sanitation companies serve a total population of some 16.3 million inhabitants. The program will:
- Rehabilitate existing facilities (55% of investments).
- Build new networks and plants (45% of investments).
- Help the water and sanitation companies in the four governorates concerned to improve their cost recovery rates and bill collection rates thanks to an incentive effect (indeed, the release of funds for the construction of new infrastructure is conditional upon the achievement of financial performance objectives).