Lake Nasser is of key strategic importance for sustaining Egypt's water demand and it is essential that its water quality is protected from pollution. Rapid development is taking place in all parts of the catchment and may spread equally to the Lake Nasser area in the near future, as foreseen by the Aswan Governorate "Lake Nasser Development Plan" (2002). In 2009-2010, a Pilot Test was performed to implement integrated water resources management (IWRM) approaches and methodologies based on the EU Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60 EC) through the definition of reasoned objectives, applied methodologies and standard procedural planning steps inspired to the main principles of the Directive. To achieve IWRM objectives in Lake Nasser, integrated planning was required, including a broad set of information ranging from an analysis of competent authorities in place and their responsibilities, a description of relevant water body characteristics, an analysis of potential pressures and impacts, and finally a tailored Programme of Measures. A set of indicators was defined to follow the evolution of the water quality status and to identify main trends in environmental changes in the proximity of the reservoir that could impact water quality. Major potential drivers for change were identified, as well as some key parameters and locations, within the reservoir, that need to be closely followed up to refine the interpretation of potential impacts. Finally, a broad range of management recommendations was derived to ensure a sustainable healthy future for Egypt's most important water resource. Currently Lake Nasser enjoys high water quality and faces no threat of degradation due to local sources. The preliminary observations provided by the Pilot Study represent a valuable step towards the definition of a management plan specific to Lake Nasser and illustrate how a reasoned integration of information derived from different disciplines can support progress in water resources management practices in Egypt and can represent and incentive and guidance for targeted capacity development in competent institutions. The IWRM Pilot Test was conducted in the frame of a EU-Twinning Project on Water Quality Management.
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