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Abu Rawash wastewater treatment plant, a model of sustainable development

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Eight kilometers northwest of the Pyramids of Giza, the western bank of the Nile is home to the archaeological site of Abu Rawash.

Just nearby is one of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plants, a model of environmental sustainability in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Pakinam Mohamed has a degree in civil engineering from Ain Shams University in Cairo. She supervises the construction of the treatment plant and says she is “honored” to be part of this great project. “Here, we protect the environment and health of Egyptians by making sure the Nile is not polluted. We preserve biodiversity and provide clean water to farmers for agriculture purposes,” she says. She adds, “I am proud to contribute to a clean future for future generations.”

As part of its sustainable development strategy, “Vision 2030,” launched in March 2015, the Egyptian government identified wastewater reuse as a strategic priority to secure the country’s water resources. This is particularly to irrigate arboriculture and provide water for industrial needs.

The Abu Rawash Water Treatment Plant (ARWWTP) (https://apo-opa.info/3ntFo7U) is Egypt’s second-largest wastewater treatment plant and among the world’s top 10. Its construction was supported by the African Development Bank to the tune of 150 million USD.

“Today, we provide water that is ten times cleaner than before. It covers nine million people in Greater Cairo, treating 1.6 million cubic meters of wastewater per day,” says Eng. Esam Awad, the plant’s general manager.

The commissioning of the plant has not only improved the living conditions of Greater Cairo’s residents, but it has also created nearly 150 permanent jobs at the site and opportunities for companies operating in multiple industries.

The amount of wastewater processed at the Abu Rawash plant is expected to reach two million cubic meters in the coming years. According to the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment report published by the African Development Bank (https://apo-opa.info/3M0TSGk), there is a need to increase the average capacity of the plant by 400,000 m³ per day in pre-treatment, primary and secondary treatment, and wastewater chlorination activities.

“Climate change is not waiting for us, so we have to act on a large scale,” says General Manager Awad, stressing the importance of such a project for Egypt as one of the solutions to combat the consequences of climate change.

The Abu Rawash project aligns with the African Development Bank’s strategic framework for efficient, equitable and sustainable development through integrated water resources management. It also contributes to the Bank’s “High 5” priority agenda to develop critical infrastructure for inclusive and green growth, increase agricultural production and improve the quality of life for the population.

Egypt and the African Development Bank Group have been partners for over half a century. Over 100 operations have been deployed within this framework in Egypt, mobilizing over six billion dollars in many strategic sectors.

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