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The Aswan High Dam

The Aswan High Dam

LOCATION
The High Dam is located just south of the city of Aswan in Egypt.

HISTORY
The High Dam was constructed not only to regulate the yearly flood of the Nile, but also to create a water reservoir capable of storing water to prevent famine during severe droughts. Construction of the Dam began in 1960 as a national project, undertaken by Egyptian president Nasser who nationalized the Suez Canal to provide funds for the project. With the American and the British refusing to secure a loan for the construction, it was the Soviets that designed the earth structure and provided the equipment required to build the power station. During the course of construction, provisions were made to repatriate the Nubian inhabitants, and, in a multi-national effort, to relocate The Great Temple of Abu Simbel.

In 1970, the Aswan High Dam was inaugurated by president Sadat. Today, the reservoir known as Lake Nasser spans approximately 500 kilometers across the Egyptio-Sudanese border. In spite of the ecological problems caused by the dam, it has been a blessing to the Egyptian community. It left the country unaffected by the drought that hit Africa during the late 1980's, and, in the 1990's, spared Egypt several unexpectedly high floods. A regulated agricultural system is now in place, and, in 1996, for the first time, the water in Nasser Lake rose above the spill level. Plans are underway to populate the area along the spillway of Toshka and to create new communities along the recently constructed Zayed Canal in the heart of the Sahara Desert.


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