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Aswan High Dam

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Aswan High Dam The Aswan High Dam is located about 7 miles south of the city of Aswan on the River Nile. At the turn of the twentieth century the population of Egypt was growing so fast that the agriculture industry couldn't keep up. Agriculture was based along the River Nile as it had been since the Ancient Egyptians. The river flooded every year creating the fertile soils along its banks. If the agriculture industry was to expand stability was needed along the banks of the Nile. The only way to control the river was to build a dam. The original dam was the Aswan Dam, which was built by the British and completed in 1902. This dam was created 3 miles south of Aswan. However this dam proved to be insufficient due to the enormous pressure placed on it by the large volumes of water. The Aswan Dam's height was raised in building campaigns of 1907-12 and then in 1929-34. However, even after these campaigns the dam's sluices had to be opened to relieve the pressure behind the dam. This caused enormous damage further down the valley and areas that were supposed to be protected were flooded.


Lake Nasser There are many advantages of the Aswan High Dam. Lake Nasser itself became an important fishing site supplying food and employment for the local population. Employment was also created during the building of the dam. 30,000 people were employed bringing money to the local community. However, as a result of the creation of Lake Nasser 90,000 people were relocated. Many moved to Aswan but others moved out of the area entirely. Monuments and other important archaeological sites were either destroyed or relocated. At great cost the temple of Abul Simel was moved brick by brick to a new site. The temple of Abul Simel being relocated A high population growth rate is supported because agriculture and the manufacturing industry could expand. As a result of the dam crops can be grown all year round. The water stored can be used to provide irrigation during the dry months and since there is no risk from flooding the farmers can work their land at all times. Overall there was a 30% increase in the amount of cultivable land in Egypt and the water table for the Sahara was raised as far away as Algeria.


Eventually this land will become sterile. If the salt water continues to make the groundwater saline there will be major problems for Egypt later on. As a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam there has been an increase in the risk of earthquakes around Lake Nasser. Introducing such large amounts of water has increased the pressure on the sedimentary rocks beneath and as a result increased the probability of earthquakes. An earthquake did occur near to Lake Nasser in 1981. In conclusion the construction of the Aswan High Dam has had a major influence on Egyptian life, agriculture and environment. The construction of the dam has been a tremendous boost to Egyptian agriculture and has benefited industry by providing cheap electric power. The building of the dam has also had far-reaching consequences on the transport of silt and sediments. Although there are a large number of negative effects I think that Egypt has benefited from the building of the Aswan High Dam. When many other African countries suffered from famine during the 1970's and 80's Egypt went relatively unscathed. The development of agriculture prevented disaster and has encouraged rapid population growth. Agriculture could not have grown without the construction of the Aswan Dam.

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