Inauguration of the solar powered water lifting plant for irrigation in El-Souria site in Beheira Governorate part of the regional project “Coping with water scarcity” financed by AICS and implemented by FAO

Al  Beheria Governorate -  On  January 31th 2018, Dr. Longobardi, head of the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development in Cairo, together with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation H.E. Mohamed Abdel-Ati, and Mr. Hussein Gadain Country Representative for FAO Egypt inaugurated the solar powered water lifting plant for irrigation in El-Souria site in Beheira Governorate part of the regional project “Coping with Water Scarsity- the role of agriculture in strengthening national capacities” financed by AICS and implemented by FAO.

This programme  is a flagship program for cooperation between Italy and FAO. This project is implemented in Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt to run activities in line with piloting water lifting in the Delta using solar energy from solar panel-covered canals.

The main objectives of the proposed piloting are to improve agriculture water management in the Delta by reducing evaporation losses in canals and to provide a more sustainable source of energy for water lifting for irrigation. Its rationale is driven by the following reasons:

  • Irrigation canals in Egypt are generally below ground level, which makes pumping a must to deliver water to the fields.
  • Pumping for irrigation in the country has noticed drastic change to electricity to use in the recent decade.
  • Farmers are more vulnerable to electricity shortages, which are recently frequent, and
  • Land in the delta is costly, therefore the installation of solar panels in the fields is not seen as a viable option.

Project activities include:

  • Purchase and installation of solar equipment to cover irrigation canals,
  • Raise awareness amongst local farmers and Water User Associations (WUAs) to operate and maintain the system and on the benefits of the project, and
  • Build capacity of technical staff of Government/relevant stakeholders to maintain guidance to farmers and sustainability of intervention beyond project period.

Progress so far:

  • Installation /operation of a solar system in two sites (El-Afeer and El-Souria 5 and 6).
  • Strengthened local capacities on operation and maintenance of the new technique for the lifting of irrigation water from canals with a service provided by the MWRI/National Water Research Center.
  • Designed the canvas of Business Model to promote sustainable use of solar energy in irrigation in the Nile Delta with a service provided by the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development.

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