FEMAR: FEmale scientists for the use of reclaimed water through Managed Aquifer Recharge in North Africa

In large parts of North Africa there is a critical water shortage, which is increasingly exacerbated by ongoing developments. In Egypt in particular, economic development, agricultural growth and urbanisation are worsening the situation. In order to meet growing water demand, groundwater resources are increasingly being used, which in some areas leads to overexploitation and salinization. The discrepancy between increasing water demand and limited water resources makes unconventional water supply concepts and the treatment of wastewater for reuse essential to the sustainable development of the region.

The project FEMAR – FEmale scientists for the use of reclaimed water through Managed Aquifer Recharge in North Africa is exploring the potential of an intelligent, artificial groundwater recharge system to contribute to sustainable water resource management in Egypt and other North African countries. With the help of a managed aquifer recharge (MAR) pilot system in Egypt, the project will demonstrate the feasibility of unconventional, near-natural water management concepts and increase acceptance, especially among those directly affected. To ensure sustainability and transparency, the project will disseminate the results to decision-makers and develop recommendations for a suitable legal framework. Policy suggestions will help promote innovation in groundwater and the development of replication and upscaling projects. The planning and implementation of the project has a focus on the active participation of women scientists and support for women in the water sector. Female scientists coordinate the project on the Egyptian and German sides, and women in interest groups are specifically involved and sensitised in order to strengthen their role in public decision-making processes.

During the six-month definition phase of FEMAR, adelphi is in charge of the organisation and content-related preparation of the main project phase. Among other things, the project team is intensifying cooperation in Egypt and other North African countries and expanding the consortium by networking with local actors from research, industry and politics. Strong local networks and the cooperation with those directly affected will make it possible to adapt the project results to local needs, including a pre-feasibility study for the construction of a MAR pilot plant and the development of a project concept for the main phase. Here, adelphi is building on experience acquired in the SUBSOL and the SMART Control projects, which explored the hydrogeological, political and economic framework conditions for the implementation of MAR solutions at selected sites in South America, Europe and Asia.