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Egypt's Nile Delta is under threat

Sea level rise worries half of Egyptians


Farmers began to migrate from their lands that they inherited from their ancestors, due to the concentration of salt coming from the sea to their farms. The fertile lands turned white after years of being full of goodness.

Egypt's Nile Delta region, an agricultural region important for Egyptian food security, faces a major threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change.


This threatens the loss of thousands of acres of the Nile Delta, which could become unsuitable for living, agriculture, or investment. Sea levels have risen by 3.2 mm annually since 2012 in Egypt, which will continue to flood and erode the northern shore of the delta. Sea level rise will also exacerbate saltwater intrusion, pushing saltwater into the soil and groundwater that farmers use in irrigation, a process that will be accelerated by increased temperatures..

The Nile Delta is located in northern Egypt where the Nile River reaches the Mediterranean Sea, and has an area of 20,000 square kilometres.

The delta is located about 20 km north of Cairo, the capital, and extends north for about 150 km.

As for the coast, the width of the delta is about 250 kilometers from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east.

The Nile Delta region includes five main governorates: Dakahlia, Damietta, Kafr El-Sheikh, Menoufia and Gharbia.

The Nile Delta is located in northern Egypt where the Nile River reaches the Mediterranean Sea, and has an area of 20,000 square kilometres.

The delta is located about 20 km north of Cairo, the capital, and extends north for about 150 km.

As for the coast, the width of the delta is about 250 kilometers from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east.

The Nile Delta region includes five main governorates: Dakahlia, Damietta, Kafr El-Sheikh, Menoufia and Gharbia.


The Nile Delta is one of the oldest cultivated areas on Earth, supporting more than half of Egypt's agricultural land. Nearly 85% of Egypt's water resources (mainly provided by the Nile River) are allocated to irrigate 3.4 million hectares of cultivated land in Egypt.

The majority of these agricultural activities are located in the delta region, and the fisheries in the region account for 12.5% of the total fish production in the country.

The region is also important for biodiversity: The Nile Delta is part of the East African Migration Route, one of the most important bird migration routes in the world, which millions of birds use every year.

But all of that would be lost, as sea level rise is expected to have a major impact on the Nile Delta governorates, especially in agricultural areas.

Areas most affected by sea level rise include parts of Alexandria, Beheira and Kafr El-Sheikh governorates, which are located mostly along the northwestern side of the delta.

Rising sea levels can destroy vulnerable parts of the sand belt, which is essential for protecting the lakes and reclaimed lowlands in the Nile Delta.

Although the Delta governorates are all affected by rising sea levels, Kafr El-Sheikh is going through more dramatic effects of climate change. As the sea swallows and salt invades the land, farmers are being forced to migrate in search for job opportunities and a way to provide food for their children.

This data-driven series of reports, based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and satellite images, documents the impact of climate change, represented by rising temperatures and rising Mediterranean sea levels, on agricultural lands in Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate.
The crisis is exacerbated by the decline in the quality of water used for irrigation, as salinity has increased in the governorate’s lands, causing a decline in agricultural productivity.
In addition to its consequences for agriculture, We discuss solutions that should be undertaken to mitigate its effects.

Investigation: Eman Mounir
Photography: Ahmed Qabil
Development: Mostafa Osman