الدكتور محمود أبوزبد يتسلم وسام الوشاح الأكبر للشمس المشرقة من إمبراطور اليابان في نوفمبر 2010
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He led the move towards on-farm water management in Egypt in 1977, a trend that was barely considered at that time despite the water losses in Egypt that exceeded 30%.  He also founded the modern school of multi-disciplinary approach in irrigation improvement projects, including pioneer work conducted by an integrated team of irrigation engineers, agronomists, sociologists and economists.  Under his leadership, the first National Water Management and Irrigation Improvement Project in Egypt was launched, implemented in an area of 400,000 feddans. Subsequently, he supervised the development and implementation of the second Irrigation Improvement Project covering an area of 500,000 feddans based on the concept of integrated water resources management.

Dr. Abu-Zeid was instrumental in introducing the doctrine of integrated management by large in Egypt.  This formed the basis of the Water Resources Strategy in 1998, which was translated under his supervision to Egypt’s National Water Resources Plan till the year 2017.  Such was the first integrated water plan in Egypt set in full participation between the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and the Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation and Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs.

While implementing this policy, he adopted the principle of de-centralization and participation of Water Users’ Associations for the first time in Egypt, by virtue of which water boards on the farm level, as well as on the branch and main canal and groundwater levels were formed.  Moreover, Dr. Abu-Zeid took the lead towards achieving institutional reform in the water sector by establishing regional irrigation authorities with de-centralized activities.

Dr. M. Abu-Zeid also advocated the concept of virtual water to limit the exportation of the water-affiliate crops such as rice and sugarcane that consume about 25% of Egypt’s water resources.


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