The government has allocated EGP 15.75bn in local financing towards an urgent national plan to implement sewage systems in villages over two fiscal years, according to Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

According to a cabinet statement, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb met with Housing Ministry officials last Saturday in the presence of the Ministers of Irrigation, Housing, Military Production, and Scientific Research. Officials from the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) were also present. The meeting aimed at discussing tools to resolve the problem of drain pollution and the strategy of the national project regarding village sewage systems.

According to the statement, Housing Ministry officials said the urgent phase of the national project includes 1,520 villages. The financing for sewage systems in 896 villages will be resumed, in addition to another 115 villages, with a total amount of local finance investments of EGP 13.7bn.

During this phase, 220 villages with ready-designs will be launched, in order to begin their implementation, with a local finance cost of EGP 4.5bn.

Cabinet spokesperson Hossam El-Kawish said Mehleb assigned Ministers of Housing, Irrigation, Environment and Transitional Justice, to take charge of legislative amendments, enabling severe punishments against factories that drain to sluiceways and drains without treatment.

El-Kawish said that during the meeting, AOI officials presented a study about the problem of the polluted Kitchener Canal in Kafr El-Sheikh, coming from Gharbeya. They suggested a committee be established to review companies and enterprises which affect the canal in terms of   industrial waste treatment plants, their efficiency and suitability for the factories’ wastes.

According to El-Kawish, AOI officials suggested re-examining the current sewage treatment plants in terms of their capacity and the level of their processors. This would also see contaminated villages re-examined, and the ability to set up triple wastewater treatment plants or establish large treatment plants at the end of the estuary of the branches heavily polluted.

El-Kawish added that Housing Ministry officials asserted there are nearly 144 villages that caused pollution in the Kitchener Drain, divided between the governorates of Kafr El-Sheikh and Gharbeya. He noted that the rehabilitation of six villages is complete and will reduce the amount of pollution from the Kitchener Drain.

“Work is underway on the rehabilitation of six more villages, and 132 villages are deprived of sewage services,” according to Housing Ministry officials. They estimated that the total amount of required investments to provide sewage services to these villages stands at EGP 1.8bn. This figure includes the establishment of five new treatment plants with an approximate cost of EGP 1.4bn, in addition to EGP 340m to raise the efficiency of the treatment plants.