Egypt is one of the countries that has the lowest water availability per capita worldwide. Millions of people rely on the Nile River for their water supply; however it is under threat due to the rising sea level and exponential population growth over the last six decades.
Al Ahram Beverages Company (ABC), operates all its plants in water stressed areas. In line with Every Drop strategy to protect watershed health, ABC worked hand in hand with the local stakeholders ranging from government authorities, technical organisations and farmers since 2015 to return water used in our beverage production back to the environment through nature based solution and infrastructure improvement projects.
ABC uses locally grown barley to produce its beverages, which needs irrigation to grow. The team has been working with farmers, Agriculture Research Center (ARC) Egypt, Field Crop Research Institute and other experts since 2015 to develop and adopt sustainable farming practices. They have developed best practices and guidelines for sustainable barley cultivation.
By increasing crop yields and reducing the need for irrigation, the water demand per hectare has decreased by close to 530,000 m3 annually as accounted using the World Resources Institute’s Volumetric Benefit Water Accounting method. The benefits are far reaching and include improved water supply reliability, increased crop yield, optimised fertiliser application and an associated reduction in pollution.
ABC has also worked with the local government, Beheira Water and Drainage Company and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a technical partner to improve ageing water infrastructure to reduce leakages. Flowmeters were installed to identify and repair leaks, and to improve pressure management in 2018 and 2019. The project has reduced water losses from leaking pipes by around 29% reduction in volume, equivalent to 670,000 m3 water balanced and saving approximately €70,000 a year.
With close to 1.2 million m3 of water restored to the Nile watershed annually, these two projects have enabled all sites in Egypt to return more water to the watershed than the total beverage volume produced.