020-i. Advice on ToR and review: studies for Ismailia Canal lining - Egypt

The NCEA advised on Terms of Reference for a feasibility study and EIA for a project in which part of the Ismailia Canal would be lined with plants and other materials. Subsequently, it reviewed two monitoring documents and recommended actions for improvement of monitoring practices.  

Advisory reports and other documents

20 Jun 1996: Terms of reference
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice
16 Mar 2000: Advisory review
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice
24 Jul 2000: Advisory review
Accompanying letter
Appendices Advice

Significant details

A project was proposed (and submitted for Dutch ORET funding) for lining the Ismailia Canal in Egypt. Lining the canal with plants and other materials was proposed to reduce seepage of water and increase the discharge capacity of the canal. The proposed project was a pilot for one kilometre, which could be scaled up if successful.

For this pilot, a feasibility study should be undertaken, including an EIA for the whole Ismailia Canal in case the lining would be used on a larger scale. The NCEA was asked to advice on Terms of Reference (ToR) for the two studies. In its advice, the NCEA concluded a.o.:

  • The assumed 40% increase in discharge capacity is unrealistic; it is probably only near 5%;
  • Leakage should not simply be regarded as spillage, as part of the leaked water is used for various purposes including irrigation, fish ponds, and underground supply to the Nile delta;
  • Leakage is not the biggest problem in the area, but rather the shortage of irrigation water;
  • The question is whether sealing the canal is the best solution for achieving the desired result (more irrigation water);
  • Therefore, the EIA study should examine a scenario in which the currently available irrigation water is used more efficiently.

When a start had been made with the implementation of the project, the NCEA was also asked to review the first monitoring results. In its advice (the second document on this page), the NCEA concluded a.o.:

  • Essential information is lacking in the progress report;
  • The analysis of available data is insufficient;
  • The monitoring network should be extended by installing extra piezometers.

Moreover, a number of more specific suggestions for improving the monitoring programme were made. In this advice, the NCEA also offered to remain involved in monitoring of this project. In a second advisory review (the third document on this page), the NCEA recommended a.o.:

  • Monitoring of groundwater should continue for one year after completion of the lining in order to get insight in the effectiveness of lining;
  • Lining of the canal bottom should be installed simultaneously with lining of the embankments, and should be completed before installation of mattresses on the embankments;
  • Environmental and socio-economic impacts should be studied by preparing a land use map and undertaking a rapid rural appraisal.

For the latter recommendation, Terms of Reference were included in the appendices of the advice.

Parties involved

Members of the working group

Rudy Ooijen
van der Zee

Chair: Jan-Willem Kroon
Technical secretary: Arend Kolhoff

Proponent and Component Authority

Bitumarin B.V.

Component Authority
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Further details

Country: Egypt

Last modified: 12 Apr 2019