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Paper Description


Virtual Water Trade as a Solution for Water Scarcity in Egypt.


Authors: Alaa El-Sadek
Abstract: The combination of continued rapid population growth and severely constrained fresh water resources confronts Egypt with great challenges in her pursuit of sustainable development. This situation highlights the need to look for new non-conventional water resources. Understanding the virtual water trade concept and strategy is important for formulating informed policies for improving water use efficiency at different levels. However, the introduction of virtual water concept as a policy option in Egypt is still in need for extensive investigations, research, and feasibility evaluation. Currently, Egypt’s net virtual water import as a percentage of water resources has mounted to be 23.55%. The main concern, here, is to apply the concept of virtual water as a strategy in a way that meets its interests and objectives defined in the Egyptian National Water Resources Plan. This paper is primarily concerned with investigating the prevailing water/food situation in Egypt. It outlines water and food security situation and figures, as well as policy measures undertaken to meet the challenges. The role of ‘virtual water’ within a broader policy framework is demonstrated using crop production and international trade data from Egypt, where substantial amounts of ‘virtual water’ is embodied in wheat and maize imports. It is argued that for a country like Egypt, affordability of applying the virtual water concept may not be a major problem, but more the priority and independency related to food security. In order to adopt the application of virtual water concept in the national water resources strategy of Egypt, there is a need for a clear vision and understanding of its Pros and Cons according to the Egyptian conditions. This new concept as a policy option in Egypt requires further research and thorough understanding of the impacts and interactions on the local social, economic, environmental, cultural, natural, and political situation.
Published in: Water Resources Management ;24():2437-2448
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