I use a system of transliteration designed to be accessible to readers un-
familiar with the Arabic language while recognizable to Arabic speakers.
In transliterating written and Egyptian spoken Arabic, I omit the diacriti-
cal marks, long vowels, and hamzas (’) that come at the start of words. The
Arabic letter ayn I mark with a (‘). I use italics for all Arabic terms except for
words that have become standardized for usage in English.
I use the following units and abbreviations in the text:
bcm Billion cubic meters
feddan The unit of area measurement in Egypt. One feddan is made
up of 24 qirat and is equivalent to 1.04 acres or 0.42 hectares.
I follow the colloquial practice of using the word feddan in its
singular form.
le Egyptian pound. At the time of fieldwork, in 2007–9, the
Egyptian pound was approximately 5le for US$1.
mwri The Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, which I also
refer to as “the ministry” (al-wizara) or, as farmers do, as “The
Irrigation” (al-rai).
wua Water user association
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