Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
The following figure depicts the main government bodies responsible for drinking water, wastewater and reuse regulation in Egypt.
Drinking water quality regulations
The use of treated water for drinking and other human purposes in Egypt is governed by the Water Quality Decree (Law No. 27 of 1978) which was amended by Law No. 48 of 1982. Standards and maximum allowable concentrations (MAC) of substances in drinking water are set by Ministerial Decree No. 108 of 1995 in accordance with American Public Health Association (APHA), 2005.
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
Heavy industries in Egypt are located along the Nile Delta, and in close proximity to the two largest urban zones of Greater Cairo and Alexandria. In addition, there are concentrations of companies in the textile and dying industry in Mahalla and 10th of Ramadan City.
Water reuse regulations
In Egypt, water reuse is only recommended for the irrigation of forestry and tree plantations (regulated by Law No. 12 of 1984, Ministerial Decrees No. 44 of 2000 and No. 171 of 2005) to which all guidelines refer. Wastewater reuse regulations are not mandatory and Ministerial Decree No. 44 of 2000 strongly opposes the use of wastewater in irrigating vegetables, fruits and other crops that may be eaten raw.
Water in industry
Egypt’s industrial sector is the second largest source of total GDP (industry provides 32%, agriculture 16% and services 52%). According to the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) the number of industrial establishments in Egypt is 41,996. The MWRI estimated that water usage in the industrial sector during 2009 was 14.41% (8.0 km³/yr) of total national water use. Only 1.0 km³ of that water was consumed through evaporation during industrial processes, while the majority was returned to the system in polluted form.
Future regulatory scenario
The EEAA established the first National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP I) in 1992, which was presented at the Rio Summit. NEAP I includes integrated management plans for solid waste, protecting water resources by controlling industrial waste, improving Cairo’s air quality and encouraging technology transfer.