The High Dam in Aswan, Egypt, is regarded as one of the most significant engineering feats of the twentieth century. Aswan High Dam was built to save water and protect Egypt from the Nile‘s high and low floods.
Since ancient times, the Nile has been the source of life and civilization in Egypt. Every year, the Nile flooded for at least four months. Floods could be devastating at times, or low floods result in famine. Controlling the Nile flood is thus an old idea dating back to the time of the pharaohs.
The first dam attempt in Egypt may have been made by Menes or Nar Mar, the first king of Unified Egypt, who built a dam near modern Cairo. This dam was 56 meters long and 29 meters high, but it did not last long because it was made of mud bricks. Canals were later built in ancient Egypt to store water for agriculture.
The Fatimid Caliph of Egypt, Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah, made another attempt to build a dam in Aswan. He commissioned the well-known Iraqi engineer Al-Hassan Ibn Al-Haitham to construct a dam in Aswan. Due to a lack of tools, Ibn Al-Haitham was unable to construct the dam. As a result, he was placed under house arrest until Al-Hakim died.
When Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt in 1798, he considered building a dam in Aswan, but he never did. The Aswan Dam, also known as the British Dam, was built between 1889 and 1902. Due to the high floods, this Aswan was raised twice. Aswan Low Dam is about 1950 meters long and about 40 meters high.
Aswan High Dam:
Adrian Daninos, a Greek-Egyptian engineer, was the creator of the Aswan High Dam concept. His idea was rejected by Egypt’s kings but accepted by Egypt’s first president, Gamal Abdel-Nasser.
Several studies were conducted, and two German firms provided a design for the High Dam. In 1954, Egypt requested that the World Bank finance a portion of the Dam. The bank agreed, but then backed down due to American pressure. America attempted to exert pressure on Egypt as a result of its recognition of China, the Communists, and the weapons deal with Czechoslovakia.
In 1958, a contract was signed with the Soviet Union to finance and assist in the construction of the High Dam. The dam’s construction began in January 1960 and was completed in July 1970. The dam cost 450 million pounds to build.
High Dam Specifications:
The High Dam measures 3830 meters long, 111 meters high, 40 meters wide on top, and 980 meters wide on the bottom. The High Dam has six main tunnels that can each release 12,000 cubic meters of water per second, as well as twelve branch tunnels. The dam has 12 turbines as well.
Lake Nasser, one of the world’s largest man-made lakes, was created as a result of the dam. Lake Nasser is 500 kilometers long, 320 kilometers in Egypt, and 180 kilometers in Sudan, with an average width of 12 kilometers.
Advantages of the dam:
Between 1979 and 1987, the High Dam protected Egypt from low floods. To make up for the shortage caused by low floods, approximately 70 billion cubic meters of water were taken from Lake Nasser.
Between 1998 and 2002, the High Dam protected Egypt from devastating floods. Without the High Dam, these high floods could destroy villages and towns.
Egypt’s cultivated land was increased as a result of the dam. It also increased Egypt’s rice plantation. Farmers could have three crops or at least two crops per year. The dam supplied power to all of Egypt’s villages, towns, and cities. Lake Nasser is a major fish source in Egypt.
Disadvantages of the dam:
The High Dam, like many other projects, has consequences. Some environmental issues include the displacement of 150, 000 Nubians in other cities, 100,000 in Egypt, and 50,000 in Sudan.
Because of the accumulation of silt and minerals in the lake, the Egyptian soil has become less fertile, necessitating the use of chemical fertilizers.
In conclusion, the High Dam is a great engineering project in Egypt that protects Egypt from many threats while also having some side effects.