Saturday, June 29, 2013

Millennium Dam: Facts and FallaciesSudan Vision


When Ethiopia Recently started diverting the flow of the Blue Nile to facilitate the construction works of the “Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam”, many concerns in Sudan and Egypt, countries that are highly dependent on the water of the world’s longest river, arose.
Sudan and Egypt have serious concerns about the project; Egypt, according to some media reports, has even threatened to go to war over its “historic rights” to Nile River water allocations, and the Dam construction was viewed as a declaration of war. In a live televised discussion, with President Mursi, some Egyptian political leaders suggested methods to destroy the dam, including support for anti-government rebels.
Some media reports said Egypt has requested that it be allowed to inspect the design and the studies of the dam, in order to allay its fears, but Ethiopia has denied the request unless Egypt relinquishes its veto on water allocation.
Experts from both countries, Sudan and Egypt, expressed varied concerns about the possible environmental impacts of the dam.
Specialists say the precise impact of the dam on the downstream countries is not exactly measured or known, and there are no published scientific studies that fully researched the impact on the three countries, including Ethiopia itself.
Egypt and Sudan fear a sure reduction of their water share, though temporary it might be due to the filling of the dam, but most of their fear is centered on a permanent reduction of water share because of evaporation from the reservoir. The reservoir volume is about equivalent to the annual flow of the Nile at the Sudanese-Egyptian border (65.5 billion cubic meters). Though this loss of water share to downstream countries would most likely, as Ethiopia say, would be spread over several years, the downstream countries (Sudan and Egypt) are still skeptical.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Egypt, Ethiopia Water Dispute Threatens Nations

on June 26 2013 12:33 PM
The drums of war are beating again in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. But this confrontation doesn’t concern Syria, Somalia, Israel or the Palestinians. The adversaries are Egypt and Ethiopia. The flashpoint is the waters of the Nile.

As part of the construction of its Grand Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia began partially diverting the course of the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in Sudan before flowing on to Egypt, in late May. For Ethiopia, the 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance project -- the largest hydroelectric plant in Africa -- promises power for the 83 percent of the population lacking access to electricity, as well as energy for export.
For Egypt, though, the dam raises an existential alarm. Egypt receives almost no rainfall. It depends on the Nile for 97 percent of its renewable water resources. The Nile, in turn, depends on Ethiopia. More than four-fifths of the water in the river first falls as rain in the Ethiopian highlands.
Ethiopia maintains the Grand Renaissance project won’t harm its neighbors. But Egypt fears the mile-long, 560-foot-tall dam -- and the 74 billion cubic meter reservoir behind it -- could diminish the vital water supplies ultimately available downstream.
Despite the saber rattling rhetoric, there’s little chance Egypt and Ethiopia will actually cross swords over the Nile. Both countries have far too much to lose from war. Yet, while a clash of arms remains highly unlikely, the clashing demands on the Nile’s shared waters are real and symptomatic of similar conflicting claims over scarce water resources in other nations as well.
Around the world, growing population pressures, unsustainable consumption patterns and escalating environmental stresses are imposing mounting strains on freshwater resources.
From the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates to the Indus, many of the Earth’s major river basins are increasingly considered “closed.” This means that all their available renewable water is already allocated to various human and environmental needs, with little or no spare capacity.
Some closed rivers, such as the Colorado in the U.S. and Yellow River in China, no longer always run to the sea. With scant buffers to absorb new demands or fluctuations in supply, water use changes in one part of the system readily reverberate to users elsewhere in the basin, squeezing consumers and policymakers alike.
More than 1.4 billion people now live in closed basins. If present trends continue, rising water demands for agriculture, industry and domestic needs will risk outrunning sustainable supplies in many more regions worldwide.
According to projections by the 2030 Water Resources Group -- a consortium led by the World Bank and the consulting firm McKinsey -- global water requirements will exceed renewable resources by 40 percent in 2030 if there aren't considerable efficiency gains and policy improvements. In China, available water supplies will fulfill just three-quarters of anticipated demand 17 years from now; in India, only half.
Global climate change will exacerbate these challenges. Shifting precipitation patterns threaten to reduce water availability in some regions while inflicting stronger storms on others, increasing both potential droughts and floods.
Meeting the world’s growing water needs will require far more effective use of available resources. An alarming amount of the water now drawn from rivers and lakes or pumped from underground aquifers is wasted. In many countries, for example, 40 percent or more of all the water withdrawn for agriculture is squandered, evaporating into the air or seeping into the ground from poorly maintained canals before ever reaching farmers’ fields. Many cities lose a similar proportion of their municipal water supplies to leaky pipes.
Ultimately, however, sustainable management of the world’s freshwater supplies will necessitate enhanced collaboration, between sectors and communities within nations, and between countries in international basins.
Shared water resources tie consumers inextricably together. Water policy choices made by one user can impact the timing, location and amount of water available to other users. Contrary to the martial rhetoric currently heard on the Nile, confrontation can't navigate these trade-offs and conflict can't help meet rising water demands. Only cooperation can.
On the Colorado River, for example, a creative new agreement between the U.S. and Mexico allows U.S. states to finance irrigation improvements in Mexico and then share in the additional water supply freed by the ensuing efficiencies.
Similar cooperative approaches could defuse tensions on the Nile. Funding the Grand Renaissance project currently exerts substantial pressure on the Ethiopian treasury, even as Ethiopia aims to export much of the resulting hydropower. A joint venture with downstream Egypt and Sudan to manage the project together could ease Egyptian anxieties, while facilitating financing for the dam and securing partners and markets for expanding the regional power grid.
Unlike policymakers, water resources ignore political boundaries. Water managers must learn to manage the world’s shared water supplies as allies rather than adversaries, or we will all suffer the consequences of increasing water shortages.
David Michel is director of the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank that studies peace and security challenges around the world.

Will Ethiopia's 'grand' new dam steal Nile waters from Egypt? -

Egypt is newly worried about a huge Ethiopian dam now under construction on the Nile’s main tributary – a concern that reflects arid Egypt’s overwhelming reliance on the world's longest river.
Rich Clabaugh/Staff
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Egypt and the Nile are bound together: The Nile, called "God's gift to Egypt," helped the nation become one of the first agricultural civilizations, and it still supports most farming there.
But Ethiopia – the source of almost 86 percent of the water flowing to Egypt – is equally adamant that it has been denied a fair share of the river by agreements between Sudan and Egypt in the 1950s that divided the river between them.
Ethiopia two years ago started building what will beAfrica's largest dam on the Blue Nile. It is a clear indication, despite anger from Egypt, that upstream Nile countries will no longer simply accept what they feel are inequitable water-sharing deals.
Ethiopia says its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, 20 miles from the Sudanese border, will not be used for irrigation. That means that once the 6,000-megawatt hydropower station is at full generating capacity, it will not consume precious water flowing to Egypt. 
Yet Ethiopia’s decision on how quickly or slowly to fill a needed reservoir with Nile water flowing toward Egypt, plus potential rates of evaporation, are major potential sources of contention between the two nations.
After heated rhetoric, including military threats by Egypt and an unbending response by Ethiopia, the nations' two foreign ministers met last week. They agreed to study the dam’s potential impact – but only as construction proceeds.
Ethiopia aims to fill the needed new dam reservoir quickly, in five years, to start generating power. Experts say five years is ambitious. They argue that wildly varying levels of rainfall in the Blue Nile basin requires a flexible approach. The job may take 20 years, in this view.  
To divert water into the new reservoir quickly, especially in low-rain years, may bring harm downstream, they say.

Long-term strategy

Yet in the long run, the Nile water can be conserved by moving storage away from inefficient dams such as the Aswan High Dam, which straddles the scorching border of Egypt and Sudan, and into cooler Ethiopia where there is lower evaporation.
As for evaporation rates, no consensus or exact science exists. But more usage and storage in Sudan and Ethiopia – and a reduced volume at Aswan – could save some 4 billion cubic meters of water a year, some studies say.  
When it is filled, Ethiopia’s new reservoir or artificial lake will be about half the size of the US state of Rhode Island. Filling may start towards the end of next year, and swallow hills, forests, roads, bridges, and villages in this far-flung corner of western Ethiopia.
Last month, Italian dam builder Salini Costrutorri hosted a ceremony to mark the diversion of the Blue Nile as part of the construction process.

Flash point: the filling of the reservoir

While that step raised ire in Egypt, it is more the reservoir filling that is a "major concern" to Sudan and Egypt, said an Ethiopian government official,  Debretsion Gebremichael, who wore a red cap marked Salini in the sweltering opening ceremony.
The volume of water to be captured in the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters (bcm), according to project documents. That figure is almost equivalent to the entire annual volume of the Nile that flows into Egypt's High Aswan Dam, or 84 bcm.
If Ethiopia decided unilaterally to fill the reservoir as quickly as possible, that would be disastrous for Sudan and Egypt. It would consume the entire flow of the Blue Nile, or around 54 bcm, for more than a year.
The Ethiopian ministry of water and energy says it wants to fill the reservoir over a period of five or six years. Mr. Debretsion says Ethiopia is willing to “accommodate” other nations.
To fill the dam over a six-year period would mean 14 to 18 percent less Nile water moving to Egypt each of those years, if rainfall is average and the dam is filled evenly. That is the idea in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.
Experts say that idea may not be so simple. It is unlikely that water can be impounded evenly in an area where rainfall and river volumes vary dramatically, says Simon Langan, director of Nile Basin and East African studies at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Ethiopia's Blue Nile, for example, has run as high as 70 bcm in 1929, and as low as 30 bcm in 1972 and 1984, this from a 2008 study of sediment in the Nile by Abdalla Abdelsalam Ahmed, a UN water expert from Sudan.
"They will draw ‘excess’ water during the wet season," Mr. Langan says. "With some proactive management, hopefully it could be varied even more with greater amounts of water in wet years and smaller amounts in drier summers."
Most of the Blue Nile's flow follows a three-month rainy season in the Ethiopian highlands that ends around September.
Filling the dam only during rainy season in wet years would mean "the effects on downstream users may be quite small," says Aanund Killingtveit, professor of hydrolics and environmental engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
But that approach could take decades, argues Paul Block, an expert on from Drexel University in Philadelphia, who has been modeling the impact of the reservoir filling in light of climatic variability.
The approach to capturing water needs to be "flexible" depending on how much rain falls in Ethiopia's Blue Nile basin, Langan says. If the first few years of filling were "drier years this could have drastic implications," agrees Mr. Block, who is a professor of civil engineering and an expert on climate risk modeling and hydrologic forecasting.
Unpredictable future rainfull patterns complicate a scenario where Ethiopia wants to fill the dam as quickly as possible to generate electricity for export.
If Ethiopia fills the dam with 25 percent flow of the Blue Nile per year, the dam will fill in 11 years, says Block; if Ethiopia diverts only 10 percent, the time will extend past two decades, he figures.
Michael Hammond, a hydrologist from Exeter University in the UK, says such figures are about right. Yet even with less water in Aswan's reservoir, which holds a huge 150 bcm, Egypt may not lose out.
"My understanding is that if the impoundment is managed and operated well, Egypt could be assured a highly reliable supply of 55 bcm per year," Mr. Hammond argues. This is the figure Egypt set in a historic 1959 deal with Sudan.
Evaporation rates can be managed by small-scale conservation and reduce the some-500 bcm current loss in Ethiopia's highlands, says Langan. When the Renaissance dam is at full volume, it may have a loss only a fifth of the Aswan Dam’s evaporation, or 10 bcm a year, according to the numbers offered by Block, whose studies are about to be peer-reviewed. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Egypt risks lonely walk on the Nile - National -

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy  
By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi

Posted  Tuesday, June 25  2013 at  09:04

President Museveni seemed to throw diplomacy to the wind when during the budget reading on June 13 he referred to attempts by the government of Egypt to stop the building of a mega hydro power dam on the Nile as chauvinistic.
But he is not alone. Many observers say that it is not only Egypt’s position on the use of the Nile waters which is untenable. They now also disapprove of the way the North African country has responded to the fallout from comments made by different Egyptian political leaders during a “national dialogue” about the Nile.
Egypt’s foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Kamel Amr, rushed to Ethiopia to cool the tempers and at the end of his visit last Tuesday, the Reuters news agency quoted him as saying: ““Some pronouncements were made in the heat of the moment because of emotions. They are behind us.”
Tempers had flared before, with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy being quoted as saying although they did not favour war over the dam issue, they would keep “all options open”.
During an inclusive meeting of Egyptian politicians to discuss Ethiopia’s use of the Nile waters to build a dam that was aired live on television without the participants’ knowledge, suggestions ranging from brooding disharmony inside Ethiopia to destroying the dam were made.
Ethiopia’s Great Renaissance Dam, projected to cost $4.7b with an installed capacity of 6,000MW of electricity, will be the largest power plant in Africa. But Egypt fears the dam could reduce the Nile’s water flow, affecting the country’s over 80m people, the vast majority of whom live in the Nile valley, getting virtually all their water from the river.
Egypt bases its claim on a 1929 colonial agreement which guaranteed it an annual 55.5b cubic meters out of the Nile’s total flow out of an estimated 84b cubic meters.

Egypt’s new push
The Egyptian state-owned Mena news agency reported ahead of Mr Kamel’s visit to Ethiopia that the foreign affairs minister was expected to follow up the trip with flights to Khartoum and Juba.
But why does Egypt prefer to talk to some of the Nile basin countries and not the others? Mr Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political historian at Makerere University, says the circumstances have changed and Egypt must come into the fold.
On May 14, 2010, Uganda signed an agreement with three of the Nile Basin countries regarding the use of the waters of the Nile in Entebbe.
In the accord, called the Entebbe Framework Agreement, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia joined Uganda to ignore the colonial agreement and the centuries old threats respective Egyptian governments had been making over the use of the Nile waters.
The agreement was approved after Burundi endorsed it in March 2011. Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo also backed the agreement and with the birth of South Sudan two years ago, the number of countries bound to defy Egypt increased, further weakening Egypt’s position.
Sudan had kept with Egypt to refuse to endorse the Entebbe pact. An agreement signed in 1959 had given Sudan secondary rights to the Nile waters, guaranteeing it an annual allotment of 18b square meters of Nile waters.
The deal did not take due care about the other Nile basin countries, which, apart from Ethiopia, were still under colonialism.
But things changed pretty fast in the recent past.
Sudan quickly gravitated towards the new Nile basin alliance, probably taking into account the new realities. A popular uprising swept Mr Hosni Mubarak off the presidency in Egypt, giving rise to an elected government which is still trying to find its footing.
Also, Sudan launched expansion works on the Roseiris Dam to raise its power production by 50 percent to 1,800MW just this year. It may no longer want to always seek Egypt’s approval when it undertakes such projects.
But more importantly, with Sudan’s President, Mr Omar al Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Mr Ndebesa, cooperating with countries like Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya against Egypt seems more profitable.
Egypt has not been an influential power within the community of African states for a long time now, yet Sudan needs allies within the African Union to fight off the ICC.
Ethiopia hosts the headquarters of the African Union and holds some sway over matters pan-African. Uganda, on the other hand, is leading the crusade against the ICC within the African Union, while Kenya has its President and his deputy awaiting trial by the ICC at The Hague.
But whereas Egypt was never sure of the support of the other Nile basin countries and took a patronising position against them, it at least expected the backing of Sudan.
This is why some Egyptians are frustrated by Sudan’s new approach to the issue.
“Sudan’s stance on the crisis is disgusting,” the liberal Egyptian politician Ayman Nour is quoted by the state-owned online newspaper, Al Ahram, as having said in the televised dialogue.
Building dams on the Nile not a luxury – experts
Daily Monitor was not able to speak to officials at the Egyptian High Commission in Kampala. Our emailed request went unanswered and the official who received our telephone call said they would not be commenting on the matter at this stage.
However, “building dams like Uganda and Ethiopia are doing is not a luxury,” says Mr Moses Dhizaale, head research, innovation and monitoring and evaluation at the National Planning Authority.
Mr Dhizaale says Uganda, for instance, needs enormous amounts of electricity to support economic growth, “necessitating the harnessing of any possible source”. He says the need for tapping Uganda’s hydro potential to generate power is even more pertinent since “our sunshine is not good enough to produce enough electricity for industrial purposes.”
Mr Titus Mugume, a hydrologist, says countries like Egypt may need to seek alternative sources of water and reduce dependence on the Nile. He says water can be drilled from underground, even in the Sahara Desert, like Libya did under Muammar Gaddafi.
Barring such initiatives, says Mr Mugume, the Nile waters may at some point prove insufficient and brew further disagreements.
Mr Ndebesa already fears that the disagreements over the Nile have touched off an arms race in the region. Uganda has budgeted to spend a trillion shillings on defense next financial year, much of it meant for buying equipment.
Facts on the Nile
Length: Longest river in the world – approximately 4,160 miles (6,670 km) long.
Tributaries. Has two major branches – the White Nile which originates in Lake Victoria and the Blue Nile which originates from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The two branches join at Khartoum and flow through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea:
Path. The Nile and its tributaries flow through ten countries - Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzanian, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Kenya.
Nile basin nations dispute over supplies
Resource clash. While Egypt is entirely dependent on the Nile for its water supply and regards any possible reduction as an issue of national security, some of the world’s poorest countries see the river as a vital source
for national development.
1929 colonial agreement gave Egypt full control of the river but in 1959 Sudan was also given a share.
Diplomatic spat
In a televised meeting on June 3, Egyptian politicians suggested attacks against Ethiopia to sabotage the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy (above) warned that “all options are open” to challenge Ethiopia’s Nile project. In response, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (below) vowed “nothing” and “no one” will stop the dam’s construction. However, the two countries have tried to mend fences, with their foreign affairs ministers meeting in Addis Ababa last week.
Museveni's take
President Museveni says the belief that only Egypt is entitled to the Nile waters is chauvinistic and fails to realise the need for speeding up economic growth up the Nile.
Speaking after the reading of the budget last Thursday, Mr Museveni warned the new government of Egypt and “some chauvinistic groups inside Egypt” not to “repeat the mistakes of the past Egyptian governments.”
Mr Museveni called for “rational (not emotional and uninformed statements) discussions” under the auspices of the Nile Valley Organisation, adding, “No African wants to hurt Egypt; however, Egypt cannot continue to hurt black Africa and the countries of the tropics of Africa.”
He argued that unless the countries up the Nile valley utilise the Nile to generate electricity, not even Egypt is safe because poor people upstream will degrade the environment, lead to dwindling rains and less water flowing in the Nile.
With the 1929 agreement that gave Egypt rights to a large majority of the Nile waters and veto powers over development projects now effectively shunted aside by the new Nile basin treaty, it remains to be seen how long it will take Egypt to embrace the framework.
Egypt generates much of its power from the two Aswan dams on the Nile and the river supports grand irrigation projects and deposits the fertile soils that mainly support the country’s agriculture.
The other countries also want a share of the benefits. Uganda launched the 250MW capacity Bujagali dam last year and will start work on the bigger Karuma Dam, also on the Nile, later this year, without having to seek Egypt’s consent.
History of the wrangle
The Nile has been referred to as the “lifeblood” of Egypt, without which the Mediterranean country would have been a desert.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam : Legal Matters - Part 1 - YouTube

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam : Legal Matters - Part 1 - YouTube: ""

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Egyptians grow tense with electricity and water in short supply, - World Wires -


A man in the Ramlet Boulak neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, walks around with a bar of soap and water tub looking for enough water to bath.
A man in the Ramlet Boulak neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, walks around with a bar of soap and water tub looking for enough water to bath. 


The towering luxury office buildings that hover over the impoverished neighborhood of Ramlet Boulak used to blatantly symbolize the divisions between Cairo’s wealthy and its poor. Now the scene captures the closing gap between rich and poor, at least as it applies to the persistent shortages of electricity, water and gas that have swept across Egypt.
On a recent Sunday, a resident of Ramlet Boulak carried around a bar of soap looking for enough water to shower, while his wife used what little water they’d found to wash their clothes in tin buckets. Meanwhile, some of the businesses in the high rises were relying on generators when the power inevitably cut out; the rest went hours without power, losing money with every passing minute.
The issue of energy consumes both life and politics here. On the streets, both the rich and poor find that markets struggle to keep foods fresh and often close for lack of power. Miles-long lines of trucks snake toward gas stations in search of gasoline. Farmers lack power for irrigation. The shortages have cost the faltering economy an estimated $14 billon and threaten an already fragile political situation.
Basic services have become the most important issue of the day, exposing the limitations of Egypt’s first democratically elected government and making life here even more precarious.
“People had very high expectations and aspirations during the revolution, so if they become very frustrated you never know what will happen or how will people react. This could lead to more violence,” said Omina Helmy, the acting executive director and director of research at the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies. “We really have to take care and find solutions, we can’t keep on fighting over politics. People cannot eat politics.”
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has promised to improve electricity, gas and water supplies, and he told Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, a water expert, to examine the issue. In recent days, as the June 30 anniversary of Morsi’s ascent to power approaches, there has been some improvement. But even that has fueled more complaints about Morsi’s competence as Egypt braces for massive protests by his opponents.
The shortages have led to increasingly vitriolic language from Egyptian leaders. Amid fears that Ethiopia is building a $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam that could cut off water to Egypt, Morsi gave a defiant speech warning Ethiopia that “all options are open” if Egypt’s share of the Nile River is affected. “If one drop of water is lost, our blood is the alternative,” he said.
A week earlier, Egyptian politicians scheduled a meeting to discuss their response. Unaware that the meeting was televised, Younis Makhyoun, a senior leader of an ultraconservative Islamist party, said that Egypt should back rebels in Ethiopia as a bargaining chip or destroy the dam.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded an official explanation from Egypt, then ratified the project. The outbursts forced Egypt’s foreign minister to rush to Addis Ababa to try to repair relations.
While Egypt had spurts of service problems during former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, the situation has gotten worse since his fall two years ago. In the year since Morsi ascended to the presidency, it’s gotten even worse – the $14 billion economic loss tied to power shortages is in just the last six months, economists say.
At the Shobra el Kheima electricity plant in northern Cairo, one of the nation’s 55 such facilities, Sayed Shadada, 49, a 29-year veteran at the plant, called what is happening now the worst he’s seen.
“It all started after the revolution,” Shadada said.
The explanation for what has happened is a combination of factors. The 2011 revolution disrupted an already broken electricity sector. Natural gas production declined. A drop in the number of tourists dried up foreign currency income, cutting the value of the Egyptian pound and hindering the government’s ability to pay for fuel, whether imported or produced locally by international oil companies.
Moreover, the deteriorating security problem has made it harder to secure plants. Egypt’s minister of electricity told the state-owned al Ahram newspaper earlier this month that two power plants, one in Banha in Egypt’s northeast corner and the other at Ain el Sokhan, about two hours east of Cairo, are ready to operate but cannot because the government cannot provide the personnel to protect them.
All the while, consumption is increasing.
According to official figures, Egypt’s national electricity consumption is expected to rise to 29,500 megawatts per day by summer even as the country only produces 27,000 megawatts a day. From 2000 to 2010, electricity production grew an average of 4 percent per year; consumption grew at an annual rate of 5.2 percent, Helmy of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies told al Ahram.
The impact can be seen in the city’s industrial parks, where extended power outages have meant layoffs as factories can’t operate.
The impact is felt at the household level, too.
“The fluctuating current ruins my electric appliances. And if something is ruined, I am poor and I cannot replace them,” said Mirfet, 40, a nurse who refused to give her last name (“I don’t want any trouble”) while working at the Menya al Amh hospital near Morsi’s hometown, Zigazig, just north of Cairo.
Egypt now depends on oil-rich countries like Qatar, Libya and Kuwait to provide fuel. But the amount is still not enough to run power plants at full capacity and meet summer demand.
Earlier this month, the government announced that Egypt had received a shipment of natural gas from Qatar to alleviate the problem. In many cities, people felt an improvement almost immediately, with power staying on. But the respite lasted just two days before power outages started again.
Aktham Abou-Elella, undersecretary of state and the spokesman for the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, said solving such problems would take at least four years.
Until then, the government has asked people to be patient.
“I apologize to all the people for having such problems,” Morsi was quoted as saying in an interview with al Ahram. “God willing, people should excuse us. We are doing our best.”

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