Introduction to Operation OASIS

The massive waste water problem that currently pollutes our bathing waters costing £billions to process throughout the world can be used to irrigate and reforest desert coastlines to induce rainfall.

Our aim is to use the return ballast capacity of super crude carriers which currently transport sea water half way around the world at great financial and environmental cost. This ballast is discharged into the sea, often introducing invasive marine species which affects the stability of indigenous species of flora and fauna.

The E.U. is legislating against this practice and tanker operators will be forced to seek an alternative.

Operation OASIS offers an exciting opportunity for ballast water. Transporting treated waste water to irrigate and reforest arid coastlines to induce rainfall has to be the way forward.

One tanker loaded with 300000 cubic meters of treated waste water would support 57 hectares of forest for a whole year.

Reclaiming deserts to enable people to feed themselves and grow great forests will offset the carbon emissions from shipping.

With global food shortages upon us we are already feeling the strain on our pockets in the developed world and renewable resources are in rapid decline. Drought is affecting all major food producing countries and wells are running dry. Water scarcity poses major problems for us and our children. We need to act fast in order to avert a major global catastrophe.

When the mighty river Amazon dries up and it's fish stocks die it is time to take stock on how we manage our fragile environment. For more detailed information visit our website and forum at:

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

From Desert To Forest In Egypt Using Sewage and Wastewater

MINISTRY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS EGYPTIAN ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AGENCY Innovative Approach to Municipal Wastewater Management: The Egyptian ExperienceByDr. Mamdouh RiadMinister of State for Environmental AffairsMarch 2004

The sustainable use of land and water resources is directly linked to food security, public health, and economic and social benefits. In many cases, the treated municipal wastewater represents an important water resource that could form a valuable national asset if properly and effectively used.

On the other hand, the uncontrolled municipal sewage discharge is one of the most serious forms of environmental pollution, and represents a clear threat to both human health and to sustainable development. In the majority of the low-income countries worldwide, the sewage effluents are normally disposed of through direct discharge into local waterways, rivers, lakes, or to the sea, sometimes without treatment.

Therefore, addressing the threats of uncontrolled municipal wastewater discharge has been identified as a priority for action in the 1995 Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities. This priority was further reconfirmed at the 2002 Millennium Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

Description of the Initiative

Egypt produces an estimated total of 2.4 billion cubic meters of municipal wastewater every year. The partial treatment of this large amount of sewage costs the government some 600 million Egyptian Pounds (the equivalent of US$100 million) annually.

In addition, Egypt has about 90% of its land area as desert, and suffers from an obvious lack of green cover and of forestry in its deserts and coastal areas. The green cover is largely needed for environmental reasons (climate change, desertification, etc.), and the forestry for economic reasons (Egypt now imports wood for its wood industry at an estimated value of about US$ 900 million annually).

Traditionally, there are two options to deal with the sewage problem: (a) to dispose of the treated sewage water by discharging it to a nearby desert land, where there is a high risk of land and ground-water pollution, or (b) to discharge the treated sewage to the sea and coastal lakes, either directly or indirectly through inland waterways and drainage canals, where there is also a high risk to human health and to the marine environment.

However, Egypt opted to take an innovative approach in responding to these daunting environmental challenges that, while will enable it to deal with such a huge amount of municipal wastewater, will also help transforming its “wasted” desert land into forests and hence increase its green cover.

To this effect, the Egyptian Government, has, since the early 1990s introduced its national plan for the re-use of its wastewater, and developed the practice of establishing on a pilot scale man-made forests of timber trees that are irrigated using treated sewage water in various desert sites nationwide, adjacent to some highly or moderately populated towns.

These pilot experiments were carried out at several locations, under different soil, weather, and environmental conditions. At present 13 forests have been established in different areas in the Governorates of Ismailia, Menoufia, Giza, Alexandria, and Dakahlia, in Lower Egypt, in Luxor, Qena and Aswan in Upper Egypt, as well as in the New Valley in the Western Desert and in South Sinai (see Map), with a total planned area of about 6,000 Feddan (equivalent to about 2700 Hectares).

The pilot experiments undertaken thus far have proved to be extremely successful, and demonstrated very promising results, with numerous environmental, economic and social benefits.

Several partners and stakeholders have been involved with the Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs in this initiative, mainly the Ministries of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Local Government, Electricity, Water Resources and Irrigation. The local communities and farmers have been actively involved in the different stages of establishing and in operating these forests.

Mainstreaming and Sustainability of the Approach

The Egyptian approach described above could be summarized by the following formula:

(Treated Sewage) (Sandy Desert Soil) (Forest Plantation)

Applying this innovative approach of re-using treated sewage water is considered a safeguard against human and environmental health problems caused by the traditional approach to the sewage problem by discharging it either to land or water bodies. The Egyptian Government plans to expand and build upon the success of the pilot phase and mainstream this practice into national policies for combating pollution and increasing green areas as stipulated in the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP).

This practical approach, in addition to dealing with the problems of sewage and desertification, and further to its obvious economic benefits, it effectively addresses several important environmental and sustainable development objectives, including:

- Reduction of pollution loads to the marine, coastal and desert environment
- Protection of coastal and marine habitats and biodiversity
- Increase availability of water for development
- Reduce CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere
- Build and Enhance capacity of local and national expertise
- Use of innovative and effective approaches in municipal wastewater management
- Achieve the objectives of the GPA and the Strategic Action Plan on Municipal Wastewater at the national level.
- Insure long-term sustainability of the project through the use of the income generated from the forests’ timber wood and the associated supplementary projects.

The beneficiaries of such forests cover a wide range of public and private sectors of the society, including:

a) the general public through providing cleaner and healthier environment,
b) the professionals working in this field, by providing details on the design and management of environmentally-sound wastewater-irrigated timber tree plantations,
c) the private sector investors involved in the implementation of the project through creating investment opportunities,
d) The local citizens, through providing a wide range of job opportunities and training,
e) the local municipalities through enhancing its role in environmental management.

Having spent several years talking to Doctor Eldaz at the Egyptian Embassy In London, about the logic of using sewage and waste water to reclaim vast areas of desert by turning them into forests, I was delighted to find that several pilot reforesting projects have been conducted and proven very productive, solving pollution, desertification, and providing fodder and timber while the sandy soil is returned once again to fertile soil.

Looks like my hardwork paid off eventually. Now for the next innovative move and use the massive waste water problem from Europe to reclaim massive areas of coastline.

I am absolutely delighted at finding this paper.

Financial Viability and Economics of the initiative

Feasibility studies undertaken in connection with pilot experiments have shown that man-made forests, besides being environmentally sound, are of enormous economic benefit. The tree varieties selected for plantation have high economic value in timber production, and the forest can yield wood production in a period ranging from 10 to 15 years, depending on the type of tree and the weather conditions in each area. The experiments have been successfully implemented at different sites on a pilot scale.


The ultimate goal is to further develop and introduce this practical approach in other areas of the country, where municipal sewage represents a current and potential problem and threat to the health and well being of the humans and the environment. The outputs and the experience gained from the project could be replicated in other sites, and the know-how transferred to other countries with similar environmental and social conditions.


kevin dwan said... This is an amazing idea check it out. Create massive inland mangrove swamps in the sand seas of Algeria with water pumped over the Atlas mountains near Tan Tan in Morocco. Once over the mountains the water will pool in shallow seas that can be planted with mangrove, plant enough and we'll create weather and fresh water over the entire Sahara. That means savannah and forests and sustainability. Please like and share the page if you can!

kevin dwan said... This is an amazing idea check it out. Create massive inland mangrove swamps in the sand seas of Algeria with water pumped over the Atlas mountains near Tan Tan in Morocco. Once over the mountains the water will pool in shallow seas that can be planted with mangrove, plant enough and we'll create weather and fresh water over the entire Sahara. That means savannah and forests and sustainability. Please like and share the page if you can!