Aswan Dam is one of the seven new wonders of the world of our time. The Aswan Dam project was daring, and perhaps even revolutionary in the mid-20th century. Its direct purpose is to hold the waters of the great Nile, which is rightfully called the longest river in the world. Due to the well-chosen location for the dam, the water level in the river is always maintained at an optimal level. Also, a power plant was built on the dam, which supplies electricity not only to coastal cities, but the entire country.
The territory, which is located in close proximity to the river, is annually exposed to various disasters. During the rainy period of the year, the Nile, as a rule, overflows its banks, as a result of which the river water floods the coastal territories. As strange as it may sound, this phenomenon also has a positive side. The waters of the Nile bring with them fertile silt, which allows farmers to harvest a good harvest, on a rather scarce, sandy soil. But if there is a downside, too strong floods, on the contrary, carry away fertile soil and ruin fields. In addition, during the rest of the year, the entire territory of the country is subject to severe droughts. To combat all these problems, the Aswan Dam was built.
The modern Aswan Dam was preceded by the first Aswan Dam, which was built significantly south of where the Aswan Dam is now located. The construction of the first dam began in 1902. It was the constant flood problems that prompted the engineers to look for a solution to the problem. The Aswan Dam was just such a solution to the problem. Subsequently, the first Aswan Dam was improved twice more in 1912 and 1933. However, despite all efforts, the first dam could not cope with the task assigned to it, another flood destroyed the dam and the waters of the Nile poured into the coastal cities. The next step in the fight against the elements was the construction of the Aswan High Dam in 1960. The dam was an earthen dam, which had a core of clay and cement, and also had a granite stone embankment. The height of the structure was 111 meters and had a length of 3.6 km. The Aswan Dam is about 40 meters wide at the top, while at the base it is over 900 meters wide. Construction of the modern Aswan Dam lasted from 1960 to 1970.
Above the dam, a huge reservoir was created, about 500 km long. The reservoir was named after the President of the country "Lake Nasser". Not surprisingly, the opening of the dam was timed to coincide with the onset of the rainy season in 1971. The dam coped with the task 100%, and the next flood was prevented.
For the construction of the reservoir, too, much had to be sacrificed. In addition to the fact that it was necessary to relocate about 50, 000 thousand intentions of coastal areas at a distance of 50 kilometers from the dam. Also, on the territory that was planned to be flooded, several historical values were located, such as the temples of Nefertari and Ramses II. But there was a decision to save everything to the maximum, therefore, in particular, these temples were divided into 30-ton blocks, dismantled, and reassembled on a hill near the dam. The transfer of the temples took about 4 years. Also, all the archaeological values that were found during the construction of the dam were also carefully collected, documented and transferred to museums.
In conclusion, I would like to say that in addition to the undoubted advantages, the dam also brought negative consequences.
- Water from Lake Nasser is used to irrigate agricultural fields;
- The power plant built on the dam generates half of all electricity consumed in Egypt.
- Every year, with the rainy season, the country is protected from flooding.
- The dam traps fertile silt, which, in turn, prevents the farmer who live downstream of the dam from getting good harvests.
- The level of groundwater rises, and as a result, salt appears on the surface, which also harms agriculture.