Mitigation of rising salinity in Lake Qarun – Egypt

Video credit: Patrick Appenteng (Ghana), Charles Makuya (Malawi), Djouani Marcelin (Cameroon), and Marx Garcia (Philippines)

Description: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the video channel)

Lake Qarun (Fayoum – Egypt) was directly connected with River Nile in ancient times and so forming a natural reservoir of freshwater before being disconnected. Since then, the lake (~23,000 ha), turned into a closed basin relying solely on agricultural drainage water and hence resulting in a steadily rising of water salinity mainly due to the evaporation of lake water. The salinity of lake water ranges from 35 to 40 g/L in the present time.

The threatening of salinity increase to the lake fishery called for mitigation approaches especially when we know that the total build-up of salt in the lake is estimated by about 600,000 tons annually. Among various suggested strategies, salt extraction from the lake water has been recommended as a realistic and effective approach.

The inserted video has been mainly filmed in a large salt extraction factory (Emisal). The infrastructure and so the technologies in practice allow the extraction of about 300,000 tons of salt/year from Lake Qarun, sorted as follows:

  • Anhydrous sodium sulfate (120,000 tons/year)– Used in the manufacturing of dry detergents
  • Refined sodium chloride (edible – 150,000 tons) and vacuum sodium chloride (90,000 tons)/year
  • Magnesium sulfate (27, 000 tons/year)- used in the fertilizers’ industry

It may be worth noting that about 18 million tons of dissolved salts have been excreted from the lake during the period from 1984 to 2018.

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