The first water storage project to be established in the Nile Basin countries, the number of workers reached 34,000, and it took 10 years (1960–1970) to build at a cost of approximately one billion dollars. It follows the Suez Canal in importance, and the International Authority on Dams and Major Companies has ranked it at the forefront of projects in the twentieth century.
The benefits of its construction were not limited only to the agricultural and livestock sector, but it had a direct impact on the entire Egyptian economy and its impact on Egypt's political and regional power and its position in the region.
place and place
The High Dam was built on the Nile River in Aswan Governorate, southern Egypt, on the northern border between Egypt and Sudan. Its length at its peak is 3,830 metres, and at its base between the two banks of the Nile its length is 520 metres. Its height is 111 meters above river bed level, and its width at the top is 40 meters. The dam takes the form of two wings on either side of the river.
before the first phase
Construction of the first dam, the “Lower Aswan Dam”, began in 1889. Its construction was finished in 1902. Its height was approximately 54 meters, and it was later extended in two phases: the first from 1907 to 1912, and the second from 1929 to 1933.
In 1946 this lower dam was about to overflow, so it was decided to build another dam 8 km upstream. In 1952, the Egyptian-Greek engineer Adrian Denino proposed a project to build the High Dam in Aswan to reserve the floods of the Nile, store its water and generate electrical energy from it. As early as 1954, two German engineering companies submitted a design for it. project, and in December of the same year, an international committee approved the feasibility of building the High Dam.
Construction of the “New Aswan High Dam” began during the reign of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the United States initially offered a $270 million loan, but withdrew it.
In December 1955, the World Bank agreed to Egypt's request to finance the project, and submitted a proposal to finance a quarter of its total cost, but it came with American and British conditions which Egypt rejected. and considered the “colonial conditions” that led to it. The World Bank will withdraw its proposal.
First phase of construction of High Dam
In December 1958, Egypt signed an agreement with the Soviet Union to finance the first phase of the project, and in December 1959, Egypt signed an agreement with Sudan to distribute the dam's reservoir water.
Work on implementing the first phase of the dam began on January 9, 1960, and included digging the diversion channel and tunnels, lining them with reinforced concrete, pouring foundations for the power station, and building the dam to a height of 130 meters. .
On August 27, 1960, Egypt signed a second agreement with the Soviet Union to lend additional funds to finance the second phase of the dam's construction. In May 1964, river water was diverted to a diversion canal and tunnels, blocking the Nile River and causing water to accumulate in the lake. At this stage, the construction of the dam body continued until its end, the construction of the power station was completed, the installation and operation of the turbines, and the installation of transformer stations and power transmission lines.
Energy production from the High Dam Power Station began in October 1967, and water storage in front of the High Dam began in 1968. Construction of the dam was fully completed in July 1970, and a year later Egyptians celebrated its official opening.
It consists of a power station on the east bank of the Nile, crossing the channel through which water flows into turbines through 6 tunnels equipped with gates to control the water, in addition to weed barriers.
The water reserved in front of the dam forms an artificial lake with a length of 500 kilometers and an average width of 12 kilometers, covering the entire Egyptian Nubia and part of Sudanese Nubia. Egypt and Sudan also reached an agreement in 1959 to allocate 18.5 cubic kilometers of water to Sudan.
The High Dam created a massive reservoir called Lake Nasser, which caused the Nile River to expand behind the dam, leading to the displacement of more than 50,000 people in Egypt and Sudan. The dam also caused flooding of archaeological sites and the Egyptian government relocated other archaeological sites before they were submerged.
Impact and development
The impact areas of High Dam were as follows:
- Reclaiming land and increasing agricultural area from 5.5 to 7.9 million acres and converting irrigation systems from seasonal to sustainable, increased agricultural production.
- Expansion of crops that depend on abundant water, such as rice and sugarcane.
- 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy is generated to run factories and light cities and villages.
- Increase in fish wealth through High Dam Lake (Nasser Lake), and improvement in river navigation throughout the year.
- To ensure full, regular operation of the Aswan Reservoir Station by providing stable levels throughout the year.
High Dams and Natural Disasters
The High Dam saved Egypt from the disasters of drought and famine resulting from frequent floods in the period between 1979 and 1987, as about 70 billion cubic liters were withdrawn from the reserve in the High Dam Lake to compensate for the annual losses naturally. Revenue of the Nile River.
It also saved Egypt from the dangers of massive floods that occurred between 1998 and 2002, and it also saved the state huge expenses in responding to these floods and mitigating their effects.