A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been agreed between Egypt and UK’s water sector trade association to establish a framework for bilateral cooperation on water projects for 27 governorates and the new cities across Egypt.
The collaborative agreement was signed by British Water chairman Dr Mark Fletcher and Dr Sayed Ismail, deputy minister for infrastructure, the Egyptian Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities at a reception in London, UK.
The MoU will make it easier for the UK water industry to participate in Egypt, and for Egyptian companies to access UK knowledge and experience.
“Egypt’s water and sanitation sector is undergoing a transformation and we need the expertise of British companies,” said Dr Ismail. “We have 40 new cities under development including a new capital city — this is a huge area of development, requiring water and sanitation infrastructure, technologies and services.”
He added that expertise from the UK water sector and supply chain was needed to help Egypt’s modernisation plans on desalination, water reuse, sludge-to-energy retrieval, and investment in human capital.
Among the 40 new cities is the new administrative capital of Egypt, which has a planned population of 10 million inhabitants and will feature green spaces, and separate residential and industrial sectors.
Another new city, New Alamein, is one of Egypt’s smart cities, covering 50,000 acres and with a proposed population of three million. Styled as Egypt’s Gate to Africa, it will be made up of separate tourist, residential, industrial and historic sectors.
“We are interested in working with British companies on two key technologies: desalination and sludge-to-energy. We want to close the loop by generating energy and increasing water reuse while minimising costs,” said Dr Ismail.
Investment in desalination is critical to Egypt’s plans for a more sustainable water future, he said. There are plans for around 20 new desalination plants across the country, which the Egyptian government plans to build in collaboration with the private sector.
“The River Nile is the main source of water for all Egyptians. At the moment 90% of our water is taken from there, but we need to diversify our other resources, especially in coastal areas, the north of Egypt and the eastern borders near the Red Sea. This is where we see desalination playing a significant role.”
While undertaking such expansion, the Egyptian government want to build the capacity of the employees in the water and sanitation sector, in areas like facility management and service delivery.
British Water is due to host its annual House of Lords spring reception in London, UK on 27 Apr 2023. The event provides an opportunity for members and guests of British Water to network and promote their business to industry figures.