Egypt’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hani Sweilam, said that climate change is a major challenge for the water sector, as it causes more floods and droughts around the world, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Sweilam spoke at the Partnership Development for Climate Adaptation in Arab States (PDCA) conference on Tuesday and explained how climate change affects water resources. He said that higher temperatures increase water consumption and change rainfall patterns while rising sea levels lead to saltwater intrusion in groundwater in coastal areas.

The minister stressed the importance of mitigating the impacts of climate change and ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for people, especially in the Middle East and North Africa region, which is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world.

Sweilam also mentioned the efforts made by Egypt to cope with water issues, such as reusing 21 billion cubic meters of water annually to cover part of the gap between supply and demand and importing food products worth about $15 billion annually.

The minister also reviewed the ministry’s efforts to protect the northern coasts from climate change and to support African countries in providing clean drinking water to their citizens.

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