An ancient Egyptian irrigation plan was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showing how ancient irrigation systems can be adapted to modern-day needs.
The report was published as Egypt continues to grapple with a drought crisis, but the findings have been hailed as an important tool for conserving the countrys natural resources.
Egyptian antiquities Minister Ahmed Badr told Al Jazeera the plan was inspired by the ancient Egyptian system of arable farming.
“It’s based on a series of steps, which basically go from the concept of irrigation to the construction of a river.
And this is the way the Egyptian system is still used today,” Badr said.
“This is not a plan of construction.
It’s just the idea that we can start from scratch, because it’s a complex system.”
Egypt is home to the largest ancient irrigation network in the world, covering more than 400,000 square kilometres, but its irrigation plans are often plagued by technical and political obstacles.
The drought, however, is not expected to last for long.
Egypt currently has about 50 million people on the verge of starvation, and more than 4.5 million people are at risk of losing access to water in the coming weeks.
The crisis is also expected to hit tourism, with some of the world’s most visited sites like Luxor, the ruins of the pyramids, and ancient temples being hit hardest.
In an effort to curb the drought, the country’s antiquities ministry has announced plans to erect more than 500 kilometres of new rivers, along with irrigation projects in all major cities.
“Egypt is going through a crisis,” Badru told Aljazeera.
Badr said that, despite the challenges, the plan could help conserve Egypt’s water resources.””
And we’ve got to do it in a way that’s also economically viable.”
Badr said that, despite the challenges, the plan could help conserve Egypt’s water resources.
“The whole idea of the irrigation system is to provide us with a water supply that can last for at least 50 years,” Badri said.