Egypt has made good progress towards increasing access to sanitation in urban areas but access to waste water treatment in rural areas lags far behind, a recent study showed.
The World Bank and the University of Leeds launched a new study in Cairo that analyzed the cost-effectiveness of a range of investment options for wastewater treatment in terms of the relative health benefits these are likely to generate for downstream farmers and consumers.
The study, conducted by the University of Leeds, UK, in partnership with the World Bank and the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water, discussed the benefits of differing strategies for Wastewater Management in Lower Egypt using Quantitative Microbial Risk Analysis (QMRA).
“The study, which we are presenting today, discusses the selection of efficient and effective treatment technologies and would be a useful input to policy makers in the sanitation and health sectors in Egypt,” said David Craig, the World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti.
Rates of sewerage connection in rural Egypt remained at only 18 percent in 2008. There is substantial evidence that informal discharges of untreated domestic wastewater in agricultural channels is widespread – and it is not surprising given the lack of facilities for collection and safe disposal of wastewater from household vaults.
The high rate of informal reuse of agricultural drainage water means that these wastewater discharges have a significant negative health impact. Domestic waste has significant potential as an input to agriculture and can be safely used as fertilizer if appropriately treated and regulated.
Many technologies exist, and indeed, simple improvements to existing domestic sanitary facilities could have significant benefits at a relatively low cost. The challenge is to work out what investment strategies make the most sense in terms of delivering a good service to citizens, protecting health and promoting agricultural efficiencies at the most efficient price.
The World Bank has been supporting Egypt’s reforms in the water supply and sanitation sector and continues to support improved access to sustainable rural sanitation services in Egypt, given its strong linkages to health and environment.