Utah researchers are leading a team of U.S. scientists into Egypt to find solutions to water issues facing the arid country.
The team is led by Jagath Kaluarachchi, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Utah State University, and includes nine other scientists from research institutions across the country.
The group, funded by the National Science Foundation, will meet with officials from Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources on August 10 in Cairo.
Kaluarachchi said the purpose of Sunday’s meeting is to learn about Egypt’s resources, discuss solutions and look at long-term collaboration opportunities.
“If we can develop one or two long-term collaborations and write proposals to different funding agencies to really solve the problems, on a long-term basis, I consider this workshop to be a success,” said Kaluarachchi.
Some of the problems threatening the region’s water and food security include population growth and climate change.
Kaluarachchi said research concerning Utah's water resources provides a valuable asset to the project.
“Egypt is also a semi-arid region, similar to Utah or even drier than Utah in some parts, and so we have similar issues in some sense,” said Kaluarachchi. “So, some of our expertise can be given; we can discuss potential solutions to some of these issues.”
Estimations predict the per capita share of fresh water in Egypt could dwindle by as much as one-half by 2040.
Other USU co-presenters on the project include professors of civil and environmental engineering Mac McKee, David Stevens and Wynn Walker.