Problems caused by the Aswan high dam project

Aswan high dam project is found in Egypt near the country’s border with Sudan, and it is one of the biggest multipurpose river projects in Africa, together with lake Nasser, the man-made lake behind the dam.

There are two dams at Aswan and both have power stations. The first dam was constructed in 1902 at Aswan to confront flooding. This was totally inadequate and in 1956 a new dam was set up south of Aswan called the Aswan high dam.

The Aswan high dam was completed in 1970. It is 3600 m long and 111 m high. At the top, it is 40 m wide and at its base, it is almost a km wide. Behind the dam is lake Nesser (500 km long nearly 150 km into Sudan.

The following are problems caused by the Aswan high dam project:

  • The extension of perennial irrigation is resulting in the spread of diseases especially bilharzia due to stagnant water
  • Nile delta has reduced in size as it is not receiving significant silt deposit and this lead to sea current eroding the edge of the delta leading to a negative effect on the coastal activities such as tourism
  • The man-made lake is the barrier to communication in the surrounding area since it occupies a large area.
  • Construction of Aswan high dam led to the displacement of many people who used to live in the area now covered by Lake Nasser and hence expensive resettlement
  • pollution of the environment due to industries set up in the region
  • it has lead to a decline in farming in some parts of the upper Nile Delta region due to the loss of silt which used to maintain soil fertility as it now settles in Lake Nasser
  • The decline in the fishing industry at the coast due to the loss of silt deposits now settling at lake Nasser would support plankton growth.

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