Climate change presents another risk. With temperatures rising, Egypt could lose 30% of its food production in southern areas by 2040, according to the U.N. World Food Programme.
Heatwaves have already reduced crop productivity and in Fayoum, residents say temperatures have been rising for years, forcing farmers to use more water for less land.
“We have not got any produce from this land over the past three years because of the temperature levels,” said another farmer in Fayoum, asking not to be named. “Now, if I have two feddans (2.1 acres), I will plant one and leave the other one.”
The effect of climate change in upstream nations is uncertain.
“It is unclear whether there will be an increase or decrease of rainfall in countries of (the Nile) source,” said Tahani Mostafa Sileet of Egypt’s water resources and irrigation ministry. “As such, we don’t know whether to adjust our politics based on an increase or a decrease of resources.”
But any alteration to Nile flows could make “huge difference”, said Randa Aboul Hosn of the UN development agency UNDP. Every “2% drop of water affects one million people,” she said.[mr/reuters]