Optimum Economic Uses of Precious Costly Ground Water in Marginal and Desert Lands; Case Study in Egypt

Optimum Economic Uses of Precious Costly Ground Water in Marginal and Desert Lands; Case Study in Egypt, Mohamed, Nader , 2021/07/24, p.373 - 393, (2021)


This chapter explains the optimum economic using the precious, costly and nonrenewable desert ground water in different sectors. Egypt is a country suffering from water scarcity where the water share per capita/year does not exceed 600 m, and the total water shortage reached 42 billion cubic meter/year in year 2018. Thus any new discovered ground water especially deep or spring ones will need economic scientific thinking and wise decision for its uses. The first logical choice for the new ground water should be to reduce the current water gap; but in case of adaptation with this water scarcity; the second choice will be to deliver it into the high income sectors such as hotels, tourisms, industry, and finally agriculture sectors. The municipal and domestic sectors will be also in the focus to meet the demands of the new settlements for the next generation. The least economically feasible choice of using the valuable ground water is to use it in agriculture sectors with its low income, where the return back of using unit of water in industrial sector reached tenfold than agricultural sector. Sometime, the lack of enough foreign currency needed to imports the needed essential food obliged the country to uses desert ground water in producing food. Ground water in Egyptian desert is mostly nonrenewable, deep and costly. The uses of delta and valley renewable shallow ground water in irrigates alluvial soils are completely different than using the desert deep and costly and nonrenewable ground water in cultivates desert lands. The feasibility of using desert ground water in agriculture and growing of agronomy crops, fruit trees and vegetable crops is a waste of a valuable and costly natural resource. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt have had negative results for exploiting the ground water in greening desert by planting wheat, barely, forage, vegetables, and fruit crops. In Egypt, most of ground water wells in Cairo-Alexandria desert road farms are exploited and be salinized. Officially, agriculture sectors consumes 62.5 BCM/yr, and shares in Egyptian GDP by only 11.9%, while the industrial sector, consume a little amount of water as low as 2.4 BCM/yr but shares in GDP by 17.1. According to the deep Egyptian water gap, and the valuable of desert water, the uses of ground water in agriculture extension (if necessarily) should be in the north of Egypt where the temperature is moderate, winter rains, high humidity with low water consumptive use. The different between the temperature in the North and South Egypt reached 15 centigrade especially in the summer season. Historically all the successes project of desert reclamation located in North Egypt and no any one single success project locates in warm, dry and low humidity South Egypt. In Egypt’s desert, the water consumptive use in the warm and dry Upper Egypt is almost double of those in the temperate humid North of Egypt with limited valid of crop types that can be cultivated. Organic agriculture, cash crops, export crops and green house agriculture should be considered as a good investment in desert agriculture using ground water in irrigation to maximize both of net profit and the return back of unite of water.