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Thirsty Invasive Plant Species Threatens Nile

The water hyacinth is spreading, and Cairo is worried. Most measures taken to eliminate this plant have failed, and it threatens Egypt with an annual loss of 10% of its share of Nile waters.

The plants consume 3 billion cubic meters (792.5 billion gallons) of water yearly, which studies show is enough to plant about 100 new acres of land. Hamida Ali, the head of the Water Users Association of the Tetouan Sea Canal in Fayoum province, told Al-Monitor the hyacinths also impede water flow to canals and, in turn, to farms.

Though the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation already cleans the canal before the beginning of the summer crop season, farmers who are members of the Water Users Association often have to bear the expense of additional cleanings because of the hyacinths, Ali said.

Patty O'Hearn Kickham

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