Evaluating The Economic, Social And Environmental Impacts Of Building The Aswan Dam

3109 words - 12 pages

Evaluating the Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts of Building the AswanDam


At 4,132 miles, the Nile River is the largest river in the world. It
has its origins in Burundi, south of the equator, and flows northward
through Uganda and into Sudan eventually flowing through Egypt and
finally draining into the Mediterranean Sea. From Lake Victoria (its
major source) to the Mediterranean Sea the Nile's river basin has an
area of more than 1,293,049 square miles as shown on map on page 2.

The Blue Nile and the White Nile are the main tributaries which join
together at Khartoum to form the Nile. The flow of the White Nile is
fairly constant but the Blue Nileis affected by monsoon rains in the
Ethiopian Highlands when 2m of rain falls in June. This is reflected
in a huge increase in flow downstream. Egyptian agriculture has been
based on an annual cycle of flooding. The diagram below illustrates
this flow.

"In winter and spring the river was quiet; then, in summer the river
would turn from chalky - white to a red-brown and begin to rise. When
the inundation came, levees were opened to flood the fields, sending
water flowing from one basin to another, saturating the land, flushing
down salts and depositing a veneer of volcanic Ethiopian silt. This
basin irrigation supported one good crop a year."

(A modern Lake Moeris: Wadi Rayan by Gregory Baecher.)"

The River's water and the fertile soil along its banks created the
perfect setting for the evolution of the civilisations that existed in
the ancient world. Ancient peoples lived along the Nile's banks and
cultivated the art of agriculture As the Nile was so significant to
the way the ancient people went about everyday life, many statues and
monuments were built to mark its importance. The most famous of these
are the Pyramids but the tombs of Nubian Kings were constructed all
along the length of the Nile.

Throughout the year, temperatures are high -between 25 and 35 degrees
Centigrade. The Nile serves as a constant source of water and this
enables farming along its banks. The high temperatures evaporate much
of the water and with high rates of evapotranspiration - irrigation is
necessary. In addition to its vital role to agriculture, its waterways
also play a major role in transportation. During seasonal flooding it
enables transportation to those areas where road access is not

The Nile is not only of great importance to support many incomes
across Africa but is of great strategic importance as it is a gateway
to Africa.

The Aswan Dam

"The High Dam is the greatest project on the River Nile. It is one of
the major national projects of the 20th century by virtue of its
impact on irrigation, agriculture and industry in Egypt."

Egypt StateInformation Service

The runoff...

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