CAIRO, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Minister of Agriculture Ezz El-Din Abu Steit said on Saturday that the government has "ambitious plans" to use modern irrigation systems to cope with water scarcity.
"We have ambitious plans to use modern irrigation systems through a project that will be launched soon in coordination with the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources," Abu Steit told reporters during the inauguration ceremony of a horticulture exhibition in the capital Cairo.
He pointed out that Egypt's annual water quota per capita is less than 550 cubic meters, "which means that Egypt suffers from water poverty."
Speaking about the disputed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which Ethiopia is building on the Blue Nile, the Egyptian minister said that the negotiations are underway, expressing hope that satisfactory solutions will be reached on the rules for filling and operating the dam.
"Even if a solution on the crisis of the dam is reached, Egypt is required to find new mechanisms for irrigation as well as securing enough water to cope with the population increase," the minister said.
Ethiopia started building the GERD in 2011, while Egypt, a downstream Nile Basin country that relies on the river for its fresh water, is concerned that the dam might affect its 55.5-billion-cubic-meter annual share of the water resources of the river.
On Wednesday, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to solve their dispute over the construction of the mega dam, which is expected to produce more than 6,000 megawatts of electricity, by next January.