The water hyacinth is spreading, and Cairo is worried. Most measures taken to eliminate this plant have failed, and it threatens Egypt with an annual loss of 10% of its share of Nile waters.
These plants consume 3 billion cubic meters (792.5 billion gallons) of water yearly, which studies show is enough to plant about 100 new acres of land. Hamida Ali, the head of the Water Users Association of the Tetouan Sea Canal in Fayoum province, told Al-Monitor the hyacinths also impede water flow to canals and, in turn, to farms.
Though the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation already cleans the canal before the beginning of the summer crop season, farmers who are members of the Water Users Association often have to bear the expense of additional cleanings because of the hyacinths, Ali said.
“This plant was not known in Egypt before Ali’s rule. It became popular during [Mohammed] Tewfik Pasha’s days, as it was used to decorate ponds in Egypt’s quarters”
(Salah Ezz, head of the Nile River Protection and Development Department)
Read the full article by Walaa Hussein via Al Monitor.
[Photo title by David Berkowitz - Flickr]