The emerging landscape of water governance in Egypt post COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has caused a major reshuffle in the core of water governance principles, including food security, water productivity, self-sufficiency and water allocation to high-value us- ers. The pandemic, as a sudden external driver, impacted such principles; this impact was noticed through the effects of the lockdown on exports of crops and supplies, as well as the reduced labour workforce. This article introduces a framework to analyse the effects of the pandemic on the water sector since traditional indicators and data do not capture the initial shock of the first wave of the pandemic. The framework is operationalized and applied to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Egyptian water sector and on how it shapes water governance. The article analyses those changes in the urban water sector and in the agricultural sector. It analyses the effects it has on the urban water system, as the sector moves towards digitalization and safe- guarding urban water supplies. In the agricultural sector, Egypt’s position on self-sufficiency and food security policy changes in food imports and exports is analysed. Analysing the two sectors will allow us to see how COVID-19 could have changed the present and translated it into possible pathways for future water governance in Egypt. Moreover, the COVID-19 crisis has created op- portunities for sustainable water governance in Egypt that can help deal with future crises. In ad- dition, there are slow, creeping effects of climate change that Egypt has experienced when Cairo experienced a severe urban flood. The article draws insights from the past on how COVID-19 has changed the present and translates them into future pathways for possible water governance in Egypt. Assessment of the reliability of the water sector undergoing crises or pandemic situations is crucial to facilitate decision-making so as to evolve action plans that can maintain the water availability for the people and safeguard essential services.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Adham Badawy, Moustafa Moussa
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