Throughout November 2018, ReWater MENA held a series of meetings with its donor and partners to discuss the project’s progress and plan next steps for implementation. ReWater MENA aims to expand the smart reuse of treated water in the MENA region, with a focus on Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.
Ms. Gihan Bayoumi, ReWater MENA project manager, met with representatives from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Center for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the Arab Water Council (AWC) and the Holding Company for Waste Water (HCWW).
Firstly, Dr. Robert Nygard, research advisor of Sida, and Ms. Bayoumi confirmed that ReWater MENA will conduct trainings to bolster public acceptance of reclaimed water. ReWater MENA could also lead to the creation of business opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by linking them to Sida’s credit guarantee schemes, thus encouraging SMEs to invest in wastewater reuse business models. Secondly, Dr. Mahmoud Abou Zeid, AWC president, other members of the AWC team and Ms. Bayoumi finalized the AWC’s scope of work for implementing ReWater MENA. AWC will be launching its first awareness campaign on water-related issues in 2019, which provides a promising opportunity for public education about the safe reuse of treated water. Similarly, Dr. Khaled Abou Zeid, senior regional water resources director of CEDARE, and Ms. Bayoumi discussed the CEDARE and IWMI partnership agreement. Finally, an AWC consultation meeting noted ReWater MENA’s role in supporting its theme of “integrated water resource management.” The event was attended by IWMI, CEDARE, ICARDA and HCWW representatives, who continued to plan project activities in Egypt.
ReWater MENA’s success depends on strong relations with local, national and regional partners. Without collaboration, cooperation and consensus, the necessary changes of perceptions and practices around treated water will not be possible.