Water Pollution and Riverbank Filtration for Water Supply Along River Nile, Egypt

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Abstract

In a developing country such as Egypt, there are growing challenges for providing water supply of good quality. Committing to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by providing access to clean drinking water supply is an additional challenge. This is primarily attributed to treatment costs, especially when large quantities of water are treated. The two sources of potable water supply in Egypt are groundwater and surface water, either from the River Nile or from the main irrigation canals. In 2008, the total drinking water production in Egypt was about 7.5 billion m3/year, the contributions from the Nile and groundwater being about 60% and 40%, respectively. Nile water in Egypt is facing rising sources of pollution despite all the programs for pollution control. Discharging industrial and domestic wastewater, return drainage of irrigated water, and flash flood into the River Nile represent the major sources of pollution. There are also widespread problems of iron, manganese, nitrate, and fecal coliform bacteria in the groundwater used for drinking water supply. Riverbank filtration (RBF) is a water treatment technique that can improve surface water quality. Current and previous results of water quality produced from RBF have proven its potential to treat Nile water and to avoid quality problems associated with source water. This paper illustrates the benefits of using RBF, the ability to resolve a broad range of water quality problems in an economic manner and to provide clean and safe drinking for the residents of a desert country such as Egypt.