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Assessment Of National Water Footprint Versus Water Availability: Case Study For Egypt

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Hanan Farag (Qaloubia, Egypt), Maha Tawfik, Hussam Fahmy
National Water Research Center1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 8: Revisiting water paradigms,

Growing populations coupled with continued socioeconomic developments put pressure on the globe's scarce water resources. Egypt is considered as semi-arid country in the Mediterranean facing water scarcity and deteriorating water quality. The limited water resources constrain the activities in different sectors of the economy of the country. To cope with water scarcity and pollution, Egypt national water resources management strategy includes action plans to reduce demand, sustain and manage supply and preserve and protect water resources. According to the concept of water footprint (WFP) where it offers a better and wider perspective on how a consumer or producer relates to the use of freshwater systems, it could be a useful indicator supports evaluating the water supply process within a certain region and compare to the national level.

WFP is a comprehensive indicator of freshwater resources appropriation, next to the traditional and restricted measure of water withdrawal. Two principal methods have been applied to water footprint accounting: the bottom-up and top-down approaches. The bottom-up approach belongs to process analysis using detailed descriptions of individual production processes and, conversely, the top-down approach resembles IOA which is an economic approach adopted in economic and environmental domains (Feng et al., 2014).

The concept of "water footprint" introduced by Hoekstra (2003) and subsequently elaborated by Hoekstra and Chapagain (2008) provides a framework to analyse the link between human consumption and the appropriation of the globe's freshwater. The water footprint of a product is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the product (Hoekstra et al., 2009). The blue water footprint refers to the volume of surface and groundwater consumed (evaporated) as a result of the production of a good; the green water footprint refers to the rainwater consumed. The grey water footprint of a product refers to the volume of freshwater that is required to assimilate the load of pollutants based on existing ambient water quality standards. The water footprint of national consumption is defined as the total amount of freshwater that is used to produce the goods consumed.

The paper is aim to evaluate water footprint process in different hydrologic regions in Egypt and demonstrate the added value of detailed analysis of the water footprint within the country in developing water policy and water management strategy.


In this paper the applied methodology follows the terminology and methodology developed by Hoekstra et al.,2011 in estimating the blue, green and grey water within the regions. The water footprint of the water process estimated for different water consumer sectors and services. A set of equations applied in estimating different WFP entities in context to national scale and main consumer sectors. The water footprint of water process within the region estimated on a monthly and annual scale according to available data.

The study area considered four hydrologic regions which are represented approximately 80% of human development activities. These regions are eastern, middle, western Delta and upper Egypt. The Eastern Delta consists of six governorates are Cairo, Port Said, Ismalia, Qaloubia, Sharkia and Damietta. The total cultivated area is around 4.8 million feddan. The middle Delta region included four governorates are: Kafer El-Shiekh, Menofia , Gharbia and Dakahlia. The total cultivated area is approximately 7.3 million feddan. Two Governorates are located in western Delta, Alexanderia and El-Behera. Upper Egypt region included nine governorates; the average total crop production in the four regions during the last nine years in winter and summer seasons is varied from 2.0 to 3.7 million ton/year.

Table 1. represents the total cultivated area in the selected regions.

Detailed crop production at governorate level presents in Table 2. Where Table 3. Shows average crops yield production.

Figure 2. Average crop production (Ton) at the selected region per each governorate during the period 2004-2013

Table 3. Crop yield production (Ton/Feddan) for different crops in the selected regions

The wastewater in the selected region estimated and observed that a big variation between the regions where the region has a large urbanization areas and high population density produce high wastewater values as in eastern Delta region. Water consumption for domestic use in selected region represents in Table 4. It is noticed that eastern delta is higher value of domestic water consumption than the other delta region.

Table 4. Average Domestic Waste water at the Selected Region


- Evaluate the Water Footprint for water consumer sectors within the selected regions. Comparison between the region and relevant to the national level will execute.

- It is expected that eastern Delta region get higher WFPproc comparison to the middle and western Delta regions. In addition Delta regions WFP is higher that Upper Egypt region.

- Blue water scarcity will estimate for each hydrological region Blue water scarcity is defined as the ratio of the total blue water footprint in a catchment over the blue water availability in that region. Agriculture Economic Annual Bulletin, 2013. Ministry of Agricultural and Reclamation Land (MARL), Egypt.

Feng, K., Chapagain, A., Suh, S., Pfister, S., Hubacek, K., 2011. Comparison of bottom-up and top-down approaches to calculating the water footprints of nations. Econ.Syst. Res. 23, 371–385.

Hoekstra AY, Chapagain AK, Aldaya MM, Mekonnen MM (2011) The water footprint assessment manual: Setting the global standard. London: Earthscan.

Hoekstra, A. Y. (2003.). Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Delft,The Netherlands, 12–13 December 2002, Value of Water Research Report Series No.12, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands, available at:

Hoekstra, A. Y. and Chapagain, A. K., (2008). Globalization of water: Sharing the planet’s freshwater resources, Blackwell Publishing,Oxford, UK.

Hoekstra, A. Y., Chapagain, A. K., Aldaya, M. M., and Mekonnen, M. M. (2009). Water footprint manual: State of the art 2009, Water Footprint Network, Enschede, the Netherlands, available at:

Holding Company for Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2013. Cairo, Egypt. Unpublished data

2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin