Skip to main content

How this invasive flower is taking over the Nile

Egypt is considering several less-than-appealing options to combat the Nile’s invasive plant problem.
Egyptians take a dip in one of the branches of the Nile in the Menufiya district, north of the capital Cairo, on May 2, 2016, as they celebrate Sham al-Nessim, a Pharaonic feast that marks the start of spring.

 / AFP / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED        (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
Read in 

CAIRO — 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.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.