The Delta and the narrow valley of the Nile comprise 5.5 % of the area of Egypt, but over 95% of its people, 30-40% of Egypts agricultural production and 50% of Egypt’s industrial production. The region is economically extremely important, attracting substantial capital investment. However, the Egyptian Mediterranean coast was subjected to many unsustainable developments during the past decades. The coastal environment is at many places seriously degraded. This is impacting the human use of the coastal zone, causing the loss of important economic assets. Irrational land use, water pollution, salt intrusion, shoreline erosion, flooding and deterioration of natural resources and habitats are the main challenges. These challenges will be exacerbated due to climate change impacts, sea level rise and land subsidence, causing prolonged vulnerability to flooding risks and coastal erosion.

For more than 40 years now Egypt and the Netherlands work together on water management, led by the Egyptian-Dutch Advisory panel on Water Management. Since 2012 this cooperation is part of the Water Mondiaal Programme. This programme focuses on developing a long-term collaboration with five countries based on knowledge exchange and applying Dutch water related knowledge in delta challenges. The collaboration on water management is focused on three issues: integrated coastal defence, rural sanitation combined with the recycling of wastewater and the use of salt water for fish farming and agriculture.