Positively Impacting People and Planet Health in Egypt
Egypt, with a population of 104.3 million people, faces extremely challenging water stress. The country has few renewable domestic freshwater resources, and more than 80% of the country’s freshwater is used for agriculture and irrigation.
According to a 2021 UNICEF report, Egypt has faced an annual water deficit of around seven billion cubic meters in recent years. The report suggests that the country may potentially run out of water by 2025 if conditions do not change.
The Egyptian government is taking concrete action to address Egypt’s water crisis. In 2017, Egypt adopted the National Water Resources Plan to invest in the water sector and help mitigate the imminent risk of water scarcity.
Focused on optimizing the country's water resources and increasing the availability of drinking water, the Egyptian government approached Nalco Water, Ecolab’s water and process management business, for solutions. The group learned of Ecolab‘s water treatment and purification solutions through a segment on the BBC Arabic News, which highlighted the collaboration between Nalco Water and Egyptian Fertilizer company back in 2018. The segment outlined how the use of wastewater technologies, including PURATE™ technology, led to a significant reduction, recycling, and reuse of water.
Plant water before and after the start of collaboration with Nalco Water
Challenges and Solutions
The local Nalco Water team collaborated with the Egyptian government to help mitigate Egypt’s water challenges as part of the National Water Project. The project involved treating groundwater as well as wastewater, which had been previously dumped into the sea and the desert, so that it could be fit for reuse.
Initial lab and field trials were very successful. Among the 250 wastewater treatment plants in the country, Ecolab was given the opportunity to provide treatment for 25 domestic and agricultural wastewater plants. The plants were struggling with purifying the water, so it could be suitable for irrigation or discharge to the environment. The plants were focused on changing operations to recycle and reuse the water, rather than dispersing the water in the desert as they had done for the prior 20 years. Ecolab developed a solution to implement state-of-the-art wastewater treatment programs, including PURATE technology, so that water could be purified enough for reuse. The PURATE technology is a best in class, integrated program that consists of an on-site disinfectant generation system, feed and control strategy and data management solution.
Through the National Water Project collaboration, Ecolab anticipates helping the country save enough water for the drinking needs of 20 million people annually.
“We’re very pleased to have contributed to the National Water Project to make more drinking water available for the people of Sharm El Sheikh and surrounding areas with a cost effective, environmentally safe wastewater facility to meet the requirements of present and future generations“ said Alex Kajo, VP and GM of Nalco Water. “This project represents the culmination of four years of research on our behalf to provide a tailored solution, using Ecolab’s proprietary technology PURATE, for the safe management of water resources for Egypt. The Sharm El Sheikh facility represents our second project within this program, thereby ensuring 2 billion cubic meters of safe water enough for drinking needs of over 1.7 million people in a year.”