Wastewater remains an undervalued resource, all too often seen as a burden to be disposed of or a nuisance to be ignored. This perception needs to change to correctly reflect its value. Wastewater is a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients, organic matter and other useful by-products. Improved wastewater management, including the recovery and safe reuse of water and other key constituents, provides a great deal of opportunities. This is especially true in the context of a circular economy, whereby economic development is balanced with the protection of resources and environmental sustainability, and where a cleaner and more sustainable economy has a positive effect on water quality. Wastewater treatment and reuse has a great potential to contribute towards addressing the MENA water crisis. Funded by Sida and managed by IWMI, the ReWater MENA project focuses on the management of treated wastewater for agricultural use in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. The regional project also offers opportunities for south-to-south learning through experience learning under the banner of the National Learning Alliance. The project brings together relevant stakeholders including different ministries, international research centers, and experts in the field to seek sustainable and bankable solutions that increase safe reuse in agriculture. As part of the regional project, ICARDA contributes to Output One and 3 of the project portfolio in Egypt which include: development of a national baseline to support development of a national strategy for reuse; and the development of Local wastewater treatment and reuse (direct and indirect reuse) models. The plans will be developed through participatory methods that involve all key stakeholders including farmers, business ventures, government institutions, and other intended beneficiaries of the reuse models.

Period of Implementation

Jan 24, 2019 - Jun 30, 2022
Total Budget

USD 300,000.00



To promote more and safer water reuse in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.


To explore different sustainable and bankable models for direct and indirect reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture in Egypt; and equip project stakeholders for implementation of sustainable direct and indirect reuse models.

Problems and Needs Analysis

Water scarcity is a serious and growing concern in Egypt. According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI) Egypt requires 114 billion cubic meter (BCM) of water per year to cover the country’s increasing demands from the agriculture and industrial sectors, as well as water for drinking and household use. The agricultural sector consumes most of the country’s available water, accounting for nearly 80% of the nation’s total water withdrawals (Noureldin 2016). Egypt practices the use of various types of marginal quality water, such as agricultural drainage water, treated domestic wastewater, and desalinated brackish water. Treated wastewater (after primary treatment) has been in use since 1911 in agriculture (Gabal Al Asfar farm: 3,000 feddans). Water reuse effectively reduces the deficit in the national water balance to about 34 BCM/year. In addition, to the physical shortage of water, poor surface and groundwater quality also contribute to reduction in total suitable water available for different uses. Agricultural drains account for the largest share of marginal water that is reused in agriculture and contribute to reducing the deficit in national water balance. Treated and partially treated wastewater is another source and opportunity for water reuse to meet growing demand for irrigation water. In Egypt, there are two scenarios for water reuse - direct and indirect reuses. Indirect waster reuse involves pumping treated/partially treated wastewater into a watercourse, which is conveying irrigation water (e.g. agricultural drainage systems). The wastewater in this case becomes a component of a water mix and not a sole resource. Direct wastewater reuse in agriculture refers to the direct use of treated wastewater supplied by wastewater treatment plants. The quality of effluent discharged by a WWTP (as well as the characteristics and performance of the WWTP itself) influences options for direct wastewater reuses. Options for indirect wastewater reuse also depend on both the quality of the treated wastewater effluent and the quality and hydrological characteristics of the watercourse that it is disposed into. The project aims to identify different direct and indirect reuse options that are socially acceptable, and environmentally and financially sustainable.

Intervention Strategy(ies)

Indirect reuse in the Nile Delta and direct reuse in the Upper Egypt.

Impact Pathway

Impact; Safe reuse of treated wastewater is substantially expanded in Egypt by 2030 Outcome: Project stakeholders in Egypt are better equipped for the implementation of sustainable reuse models Outputs: 1. Contribute towards the MENA Wastewater reuse sourcebook intended to share lessons learned from existing innovations, validated and promising reuse models and past management bottlenecks in and beyond the region 2. Local direct and indirect wastewater reuse plans prepared. These will include conceptual designs and associated implementation and management plans for feasible wastewater treatment and reuse solutions in the selected settlements. 3. National baseline developed to assist the development of a National Strategic plan for expansion of wastewater treatment and reuse in Egypt 4. Stakeholders’ capacity for safe reuse of wastewater strengthened

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Water reuse in the Middle East and North Africa: A source book

Author(s): Javier Mateo-Sagasta | Mohamed AlHamdi, | Khaled M AbuZeid

Date: 2022-12-31 | Type: Book

IWMI Wastewater Reuse MENA_ Annual Technical Report_ Jan-Dec 2019

Author(s): Atef Swelam | Bezaiet Dessalegn

Date: 2019-02-17 | Type: Donor Report