§ MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has seen a letter in the Times of the 27th July, from Mr. W. Willcocks, Inspector of Irrigation, in which it is stated that the summer supply of the Nile is deficient for the existing cotton and sugar crops, and that with a reservoir sufficient for the requirements of Egypt the value of 1118 the cotton and sugar cane produced might be increased by £10,000,000 per annum; whether there is any information in the possession of Her Majesty's Government which would show that these statements are inaccurate; and, if so, to what extent; and whether the summer or low Nile supplies of 1888, 1889, and 1890, were deficient for the areas of cotton and sugar cane planted in the spring of those years?
§ *THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir J. FERGUSSON, Manchester, N.E.)
The reply to the first question is in the affirmative; to the second in the negative. No reliable answer can be given to the third question without reference to Egypt, and the whole subject of irrigation is one that can be more properly considered and dealt with by the Egyptian Authorities in consultation with their technical advisers than in this country by Her Majesty's Government.
§ SIR W. LAWSON (Cumberland, Cockermouth)
Is there any objection to having maps relating to this matter placed in the tea room?
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON
I will inquire, but I doubt the practicability. I may say that the irrigation has been improved—not that there has been an increased area of cultivatable laud, but of land that can be profitably cultivated. The case is like that of Scinde, where the irrigation depends upon the rise of the waters of the Indus and the efficiency of the works for irrigation purposes. The area cultivated in any year depends upon the efficiency of the works, both for irrigation and protection from flood, and varies from year to year.
§ MR. S. SMITH
Has the employment of the waters of the Nile had any effect in diminishing the supply of drinking water?
§ *SIR J. FERGUSSON
I shall be happy to show all the Papers we have upon the subject to the hon. Member.