SMART: Sustainable Management
of Scarce Resources
in the Coastal Zone

D06.1: DRAFT Case Study Report: Abu Qir Bay, Egypt

    Author: Prof. M. El-Raey

1 Introduction:

The coastal zone of Egypt on the Mediterranean extends from Rafah to the east to Sallum to the west for over 1200 km. It hosts five large lakes; namely Bardawil, Manzala, Burullus, Edku and Maryut which represent about 25% in area of the total wetland of the Mediterranean. It also hosts a number of important residential and economic centers of the country including the cities of Alexandria, Port Said, Damietta, Rosetta and Matruh. Activities on the coastal zone include fishing, industrial activities, tourism, trading and agricultural activities in the delta region.

Abu Qir Bay coastal zone, located between Abu Qir city and Rosetta city, near the western side of the Rosetta branch of the River Nile, is of unique character of mixed environmental components that give this zone its importance and priority for further studies for environmental and urban development. It is believed that the promotion of this coastal, agricultural, touristic and historic spot would result an equivalent promotion of the whole economy of the country. The objective of this work is to carry out in depth studies for further development of this coastal zone taking into consideration the water quality limitation of the region. The region under study is the coastal region of Abu Qir bay extending between 10 and 30 km inland. The Rosetta promontory lies east of Rosetta Nile branch and extends seaward for about 7 km long. The Rosetta Nile branch is one of the two major distributaries of the River Nile. This branch has developed the triangular Rosetta headland promontory trending. Also, the regional attraction potential is expected to increase after the construction of an international coastal highway connecting Matruh and Alexandria cities to Sinai and Arish City to the east. Recently, a large scale harbor to export natural gas is being constructed at Idku south west of Rosetta.

Several ecological systems are composing the whole environment of this region. The coastal ecosystem include; the agricultural land, clusters of palm trees, sand dunes residues scattered in the middle of the area, wide sandy beaches, the Rosetta Nile branch, River Nile basin, different classes of Lake Idku land cover, the urban environment expressed in a of a hierarchy of urban clusters varying in size starting from a vast number of villages and farms and towns to large urban conglomeration resembling the main cities of the governorate of the region. This is besides the interfering transportation network of roads, water system expressed in canals and drains, and various components of the infrastructure of the region.

Even though the region hosts many natural and economic resources such as the scenic touristic views and moderate weather, historic sites, ecotourism sites, extended beaches and high ecological and species biodiversity, it has suffered from important environmental problems. These problems include lack of institutional capabilities, pollution, salt water intrusion and shortages of awareness which made sustainable development of the region under prevailing conditions practically impossible. The main objective of this project is to develop policies and management practices which could help sustainable development of the region under prevailing conditions of scarce water of high quality.

General policy of the coastal zone in Egypt

There has been no officially endorsed National Policy and national coastal zone management strategy for Egypt; however, considerable efforts by stakeholders have led to an agreement on the general principals of Coastal Zone Management. A National ICZM Committee involving governmental stakeholders has been formulated and has endorsed the definition of the coastal zone. It has contributed to processes, policies, guidelines and regulatory mechanisms that contribute to management of coastal resources:
  • The Shore Protection Authority (SPA) has prepared draft guidelines for the Shoreline Impact Assessment and is in the processes of preparing a monitoring strategy and shoreline Monitoring System.
  • The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency has prepared Environmental Guidelines for Development in the Coastal Areas (1966).
  • The Tourism Development Authority (TDA) has developed guidelines for tourism related activities on the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba.
  • The ICZM committee (EEAA) has introduced a framework for an action plan for ICZM, 1996
  • Other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Defense and the Suez Canal Authority all have activities that directly affect the integrity and value of the coastal zone.


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