World Bank Supports Improved Sanitation Services in Rural Egypt

February 7, 2013


A pump station under construction in Gharbeya.

Egypt has made impressive strides in providing rural areas with access to clean water. Piped water now reaches over 90 percent of rural villages. Sewerage and sanitation services, however, have lagged far behind. 

Only 20 percent of rural villages are served by sewerage networks with treatment plants. This results in the discharge of significant amounts of untreated wastewater into agricultural drains and canals. Far from simply causing pollution, this is a threat to both public health and the environment.

The World Bank has been providing ongoing support for efforts to expand access to sanitation and sewerage services in rural Egypt. A US$120 million loan in 2008 financed the Integrated Sanitation and Sewerage Infrastructure Project (ISSIP1) in the three Delta Governorates of Beheira, Gharbeya and Kafr El Sheikh. With the recent launch of the Second Integrated Sanitation and Sewerage Infrastructure Project (ISSIP 2), the Bank’s support to this sector has risen to US$320 million.    

The ISSIP 2 will help provide about 1.2 million people in two governorates in the Delta (Menoufia, Sharkeya) and two governorates in Upper Egypt (Assiut, and Sohag) with increased access to improved sanitation and sewerage services.

" We are especially pleased to help improve access to sustainable sanitation services in rural Egypt and in particular rural Upper Egypt. This is not the most glamorous of sectors but it will make a huge difference in people’s lives, benefitting public health as much as the environment. "

Hartwig Schafer

World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti

The workshop to announce the launch of ISSIP 2 drew a broad cross section of government and industry representatives. The Minister of Water and Wastewater Utilities Dr. Abdel Qawy Khalifa delivered the closing remarks to an audience that included members of the Ministry of Water and Wastewater Utilities, National Organization for Potable Water and Sanitary Drainage (NOPWASD), the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW), and Water and Sanitation Companies in the four target Governorates in Nile Delta and Upper Egypt,  as well as the Ministry of International Cooperation. 

The Government of Egypt attaches a high priority to safe disposal of wastewater in rural areas and has prepared a National Rural Sanitation Master Plan. Its overall goal is comprehensive sanitation coverage for the populations of all rural governorates by 2037. In addition, the Government’s National Rural Sanitation Strategy seeks to prioritize sector investments and provide a roadmap for comprehensive coverage of rural sanitation.

The two world Bank-financed projects are consistent with the government’s national priorities of increasing rural sanitation coverage and accelerating development in Upper Egypt. They are also in line with the World Bank Country Assistance Strategy goals of: (a) reducing disparities between Upper and Lower Egypt; (b) enhancing the provision of public goods through expanded supply and improved efficiency of infrastructure services; and (c) strengthening the accountability of public sector agencies such as those in the water and sanitation sector.