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Egypt - National Drainage Programme (NDP) – ESMF Summary – 05 2015
In Egypt agricultural land represents about 4% of the total land area of the country and it is one of the most intensively cultivated lands in the world with diversified crop patterns. The River Nile and the interventions made on the river since the end of the 19th century have greatly contributed to regulating its natural flow by building dams, diversion canals and irrigation systems. The High Aswan Dam (HAD) built in the 1960s allowed full control of the Nile flow and provision of a continuous supply of water for year round irrigation to all the cropped lands of Egypt. Water allocated for agriculture is about 85% of the country’s fresh water resources. Drainage appeared as a problem in the Nile Delta soon after the construction of the Delta barrages and introduction of perennial irrigation at the end of the 19th century. Water logging and salt accumulation occurred due the rise of the groundwater table and was associated with a sharp decline of the cotton crop yield. Open main drains were excavated to remove excess water from the irrigated lands but was not effective until on-farm drainage was improved. In an arid country like Egypt drainage is a necessary measure for the protection and sustainability of agricultural productivity.