Life, health and hygiene all depend on access to a plentiful supply of safe drinking water. Piped water supplies in rural Egypt are insufficient to meet the demands of the existing population. This situation is worsening due to the rapid population growth and failure of existing water supply systems.

There are already areas of the country with severe piped water shortages. If corrective action is not taken soon densely populated villages will become vulnerable to outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Immediate action is needed to reverse the deterioration of water supply systems and to improve the benefits gained from capital works investments in the sector.

This paper promotes the concept that sustainable water systems in rural Egypt depends on a central government and local unit partnership. Also needed are consumer bodies to determine user needs; local units to be given powers to manage the revenue and expenditure accounts; and the central government to concentrate on setting policies and guidelines, and assisting with the implementation of major capital works.

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