New research conducted by the University of Southern California, in cooperation with Cornell University and the US Space Agency (NASA), determined the size of Egypt’s water deficit caused by the Renaissance Dam and its economic effects, and evaluated proposed solutions to overcome the expected annual water deficit during the years of filling.
The research was carried out under the supervision of the Egyptian space scientist Essam Heggy, and it was recently published by the prestigious British Environmental Research Letters (Environmental Research Letters), which is known as a reference in judging scientific research in a completely impartial manner on major environmental issues.
The research estimates the average total annual deficit of water coming to Egypt to be about 31 billion cubic meters annually (Egypt’s share of fresh water is approximately 77 billion cubic meters), which will exceed 40% of Egypt’s total water reserves currently, taking into account the leakage Among the cracked rocks below and around the reservoir of the Renaissance Dam in mind.
The research accurately identifies the size of the water deficit and the resulting economic and environmental effects in order to allow the Egyptian authorities to identify the extent of the problem that the government will have to deal with and to demand appropriate compensation to solve it.
In the event that the water deficit is not addressed and an agreement is reached for a storage plan, the agricultural area may decline by up to 72% of the total current agricultural area, and the average water deficit for Egypt may reach 40% of the current water budget for Egypt, while unemployment rates may jump to 25% according to the scenario of filling within 3 years, which is the most likely scenario to happen, according to what we are currently witnessing on the ground.
The research provides a feasibility indicator and an assessment of the reality of implementing many of the proposed solutions to alleviate that deficit and assess its economic impact on the per capita GDP.
The results of the research indicate that the annual deficit during the filling period can be partially addressed by modifying the operation of the High Dam, recycling water, expanding groundwater extraction operations, and adopting new policies to grow crops, which the Egyptian authorities have already begun to implement, according to Hajji. The research also evaluates the effectiveness of these proposed solutions.
In the absence of any immediate mitigation of the impact of this water deficit, the short-term – three-year filling scenario could cause the current agricultural area to shrink by up to 72%, which will result in a drop in agricultural GDP from $ 91 billion US to 40 billion during filling periods.
Consequently, these numbers will result in a significant decrease in GDP per capita of about 8%, and an increase in the current unemployment rates by 11%, all of which will lead to severe socio-economic instability and a possible increase in internal and external displacement and migration.
In a special statement to Al Jazeera Mubasher, Hajji believes that Egypt can overcome this water crisis, but at a high price from its reserve water reserves, to make it more vulnerable to more water and environmental crises looming on the near horizon.
According to Hajji also, the investors who are hungry for quick profit and who are behind this project to produce energy that has many alternatives at the expense of a river that has no alternative, are fully responsible for the disaster that could befall not only Egypt but the entire region, in addition to the destruction of the Nile River, which is the cradle of the Nile. Human civilization and the legacy of all mankind.