Session FT 4.11
National and regional water quality management
National Water Research Center (NWRC) of Egypt
METAP- World Bank
Water Quality situation in the Arab countries is highly variable reflecting social, economic and physical factors as well as state of environment. Most of the countries have, to some extent, serious problems associated with degraded water quality. In some countries, these problems are mainly associated with rivers, in others it is groundwater, and in some countries it is both.
The session aims at briefing the local and regional experiences in water quality management, learned lessons, required qualifications, techniques in providing data in a user' friendly interface, …etc as a major tool in managing the scarced water resources. The key issues are: Water quality challenges versus water scarcity limitations; Cooperative activities within the Arab countries; Recommend cooperative frames on the regional level;
Water quality management is a long and complex process that requires the cooperation of various stakeholders
Building a well designed monitoring program that complies with each country priorities
Design of sustainable water quality program should be needs-driven rather than data-driven
Capacity building offers great potential for monitoring program sustainability
Increase awareness for the importance of water quality monitoring and information dissemination in the overall management of water resources
A shared vision for sustainability should be established among Arab countries through on-line contacts and virtual networks
Harmonized action plans among the concerned organizations would improve the water quality situation
Orientations for action
Focusing donor assistance on the use of low technology approaches and capacity building.
It is evident that wise water management must have the potential to reduce health risks and secure sustainable livelihoods.
Achievements of these benefits is possible through learning from mistakes and scaling up best practices, breaking barriers between water professionals and stakeholders, promoting the role of NGO and civil society in public awareness and cost sharing.
Because of high variable conditions between countries, there is no "one size fits all" solution. There are, however, types of actions that are required for sustainable solutions.
A shared vision for sustainability should be established among Arab countries through on-line contacts and virtual networks.
A local perspective should recognize and address the value of new financing schemes supportive of local action, the need to embark in capacity building and public awareness process, the importance of technological innovation and application of science.
The Arab Water Council could be the platform for regional coordination in water quality management. Water partnerships could also play a role if exist in the MENA countries.
Local Actions presented
National Water Quality Management in Egypt
Shaden Abdel-Gawad, NWRC, Egypt
This local action present a national water quality monitoring program to serve as the solid foundation for Egypt's policy development and decision making.
This monitoring program aims first at improving the knowledge of Egypt’s water resources. A better coordination and collaboration amongst the agencies and stakeholders having a direct interest in water resources is another of its objectives as well as quantifying the long-term quality changes and identify their cause, i.e. whether by pollution activities or by salt-water intrusion. Finally, the overarching goal is the improvement of policy and decision making.
The implementation of this program focused on the information sharing among all staleholders involved, and on the long-term direction for information management, application and information technology.
This is why the building of institutional capacity in the field of water quality management, and a clear identification of needs and gaps for continued monitoring programs appeared to be essential.
Management of Water Quality in Mashreq and Maghreb Countries
Nahla Abu El-Fotouh, NWRC, Egypt
This regional water quality management, monitoring & dissemination of information project for METAP Mashreq & Maghreb countries had serveral objectives:
Increase the awareness for the Water Quality (WQ) deterioration threats to the overall development of the Middle East & North Africa countries
Increase awareness for the importance of WQ monitoring and information dissemination
Cooperate with stakeholders & water users sectors to develop of nations’ specific guidelines and strategy for WQ monitoring and information dissemination
Involve decision makers & stakeholders to get their support for WQ issues.
The main innovative idea adopted in the current local action was sharing the water quality management practices between the Mashreq and Maghreb countries. In addition, the basic needs, gaps, and successful monitoring programs in the region have been cooperatively defined. As an output of this process, several international water quality monitoring guidelines and information dissemination strategies are considered as suitable modules that can be adopted to build regional guidelines for water quality monitoring.
Water Quality Management, guidelines for policy coordination in METAP Mashreq & Maghreb countries
Mhamed Makhokh Director DRPE, Egypt
Policy coordination has improved during recent years in Maghreb and Mashreq countries and several examples of this are given in the guidelines. However, though this priority has been widely acknowledged and that actions have been implemented to tackle this issue, policy coordination is still poor in most countries. This project should therefore be considered as the beginning of a regional cooperation process: it allowed to gather a team of people involved in water quality management from nine countries who are willing to continue to work together and to exchange ideas and experiences in order to improve water quality management in Maghreb and Mashreq countries.
The main innovative idea adopted in the current action was strengthening the involvement of representatives of Water and Environment sectors from participating countries to improve their water quality management programs. In addition, this action included providing capacity building for participants on the “water quality monitoring and information dissemination” guidelines developed by National Water Research Center (NWRC) and on the “policy coordination” guidelines developed by DRPE and BURGEAP. The aim of these activities was to collect participants’ suggestions, contributions and recommendations.
Joint APP/MWRI cooperation for water quality management assessment
Magdy Salah El-Deen Coordinating Office APP, Egypt
Recently, due to the development programmes and population increase in Egypt, the surface water quality is impacted. The Egyptian-Dutch Advisory Panel Project on Water Management / APP realized the size of such problem and was ahead in dealing with it from different angles. The following activities have been conducted harmonically: National water quality monitoring network has been established, sources of pollution have been identified, "black spots" highlighted, solutions have been developed, laws have been revised, capacity building and awareness programmes have been developed, plans and actions have been prepared, a Water Quality Management Unit has been established in the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.
The main result was the cooperation between different stakeholders (various Ministries, organisations, donors, etc.). More attention to water quality in general and its protection in particular. Preventing pollution at source, reconsider policies of re-use of drainage water, awareness campaign, capacity building.
Within this activity several innovations are being considered and implemented, including reconsideration of re-use of drainage water policy and implementation, use of low-cost technology for local waste water treatment, wise and sustainable application of the "polluter-pays-principle", modification of water quality laws (Law # 48), involvement of newly established Water Boards in pollution control water quality management, also with the framework of IWRM.