Esam BADER and Claus-Hennig HANF
Department of Agricultural Economics. Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Olshausenstraße 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany.
e-mail: ebader@agric-econ .ni-kiel.de(E.Bader)
Egypt's main and almost exclusive resource of fresh water is the Nile River. The availability of the reliable water supply from Aswan High Dam is governed by the existing water sharing agreement, under which 55.5 billion cubic meters are allocated to Egypt. Most of Egypt's water use is within the agricultural sector, with 85% for agriculture, 9,5% for industry, 5,5% for potable water (Year Book 2002). The availability of adequate amount of water is the most significant factor limiting agricultural production. Considering an increasing demand for food, the limited freshwater and land resources, and an increasing competition for these resources, it is the most self-evident option for Egypt’s agricultural policy to try to improve the productivity and utilisation efficiency of the available water resources.
Taking into account the described irrigation situation in Egypt, the main objective of this paper is to present some of the concepts and economic criteria which may serve as a basis for optimising irrigation water management. The first section aims to define terms of water productivity and efficiency measurement to enhance information that is available for evaluation of efficiencies and inefficiencies respectively in the use of irrigation water. The knowledge of the reasons for these inefficiencies will help to determine in the selection of strategies to improve irrigation water management ensuring food security. Therefore, the second section aims to demonstrate how these economic criteria can be determined by applying appropriate mathematical models that can be used to calculate optimal allocation of scarce water resources to competing water consuming activities and to agricultural regions in Egypt.
In first section of this paper is based on a literature survey reviewing recent publications about irrigation water use efficiency, in order to discuss the terms of irrigation water productivity and efficiency. Mathematical economics and the methodology of optimisation is applied in second part to outline and analyse models of optimal allocation of scarce water resources.