Roundup: Egypt inaugurates wastewater treatment plant in Port Said

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PORT SAID, Egypt, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated on Monday the world's largest water treatment plant of Bahr al-Baqar in the northern province of Port Said.

It has recently been awarded by Guinness World Records as the world's largest plant of its kind as working on treating the sludge of the agricultural sewage and prevents mixing the sea and the underground water.

"The plant costs 20 billion Egyptian pounds (1.27 billion U.S. dollars) with a production capacity of 5.6 million cubic meters per day," said Bassam Rady, spokesperson of the presidency.

The triple-treated water will be transferred to the lands of North and Central Sinai, northeast of the capital Cairo, to contribute to the reclamation and planation of nearly 500,000 feddans (about 2.1 billion square meters), according to Rady.

Established on 155 feddans (about 646,000 square meters), 10 km southern Port Said tunnels in Sinai, the plant will treat Bahr al-Baqar sewage along 217 km passing through six provinces: Port Said, Ismailia, Damietta, Daqahilya, Sharqiya, and Qaloubiya.

"The plant is one of a series of national projects to develop Sinai and enhance the optimum use of water resources in the country," Rady added.

Sisi hailed the "huge project" during the ceremony, adding that it had been anticipated to be complete in 10 to 15 years while the armed forces and the Egyptian companies finished construction in only two years.

The megaproject is part of Egypt's national security to promote agriculture, food security, fishery, environment, job opportunities, residential compounds, exports, development and combating terrorism, said Sisi.

The president added that the state has to spend 160 billion Egyptian pounds (about 10.2 million U.S. dollars) through loans to reclaim 2 billion square meters of the land in Sinai.

Reclamation of 4,168 square meters of land costs 300,000 Egyptian pounds (about 19,000 U.S. dollars) of the government budget, the president said.

"Our water resources are limited so we have to make the best use of such resources," he added.

"We're working to save 2 billion cubic meters of water that was wasted in the sea. The majority of such water would be used in the reclamation and irrigation of the New Delta," Sisi added.

The president earlier instructed the government to end all forms of subsidy that apply on bread and staples, for individuals who commit encroachments on lands and water tunnels.

"Encroachments and rapping the state lands, water channels, and the Nile River mainstreams are not accepted anymore," the president added.

Meanwhile, according to Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the new plant and the reclamation of the Sinai desert is part of the national plan for urban development across the country until 2052, with the aim of increasing the geographic expansion of the population to 14 percent of the Egyptian lands from the current 7 percent.

"Sinai is a new field for establishing new life outside the country's crowded Delta and Valley," said Madbouly.

Bahr al-Baqar and other related projects on the western bank of the Suez Canal were implemented by 16 private companies including two national ones and designed by a private consulting bureau.

Sisi called on the private investors to benefit from the well-established infrastructure. "You can cultivate as many feddans as you want in Sinai."

The agriculture sector contributes to 15 percent of Egypt's GDP and employs 25 percent of the country's laborers, according to agriculture minister El-Sayed el-Quseir. Enditem

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