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Groundwater and Agriculture in the Nile Delta

  • M. A. MahmoudEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 73)

Abstract

Egypt is located in the arid and semiarid region, where the limited availability of renewable freshwater is the main challenge in future agriculture and urban development. The main water resource in Egypt is the River Nile; Nile water alone is no longer sufficient for the increasing water requirements for the different developmental activities in Egypt due to a rapid increase in population and expected impacts of climate change especially on the agriculture sector. The agriculture sector in Egypt is the main consumption of freshwater; it consumes more than 80% of the total water resources in Egypt. The role of groundwater is steadily increasing especially in the newly reclaimed areas along the desert fringes of the Nile Delta and Valley. Abstraction from groundwater in Egypt is dynamic in nature as it grows rapidly with the expansion of irrigation activities, industrialization and urbanization.

The quality of the groundwater in this area may be strongly affected by the impact of the sea level rise combined with changes of Nile River flows, leading to an increase in the salinity levels of groundwater. In addition, the current and future human activities, especially extensive and unplanned groundwater abstraction, are resulting in deterioration of the available groundwater resources. Serious negative socioeconomic impacts can follow as a consequence. In the Nile Delta, extensive groundwater abstraction is also a very significant factor that increases seawater intrusion. Groundwater wells which were beyond salinization zones in the past are consequently showing upconing of saline or brackish water.

There are many efforts from researchers to control groundwater level on farm via controlled drainage which contributes to water requirements for some crops like rice. On the other hand, shallow groundwater may cause soil salinization, waterlogging and damage to crop roots. Agriculture activity may cause pollution of groundwater with fertilizers and pesticides through seepage so integrated management for sustainable use of groundwater is a very important issue in the Nile Delta, so in this chapter the author will provide an overview of the exchangeable relationships between groundwater and agriculture in the Nile Delta region.

Keywords

Agriculture Contamination Groundwater Nile Delta Salinization 

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Water Requirements and Field Irrigation Research DepartmentSoils, Water and Environment Research Institute, Agricultural Research CenterGizaEgypt

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