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 3600m long and 111m high. At the top, it is 40m wide and at its base, it is almost a km wide. Behind the dam is lake Nesser (500km long nearly 150km into Sudan.
The following are factors that have favored the establishment of the Aswan high dam in Egypt:
- The presence of skilled and unskilled cheap labor used in the construction of the dam project, especially from abroad, and cheap labor was provided mainly by Egyptian citizens.
- A supportive government policy to develop multi-purpose schemes to promote economic growth such as by mobilizing funds for the construction and encouraging investors.
- The presence of the Nile river with a large volume of water, that is sufficient water supply to generate hydroelectric power.
- Seasonal floods of the river Nile made it necessary to control floods by constructing a dam.
- presence of a fast flow of water to turn the turbines for generating hydroelectric power
- The presence of narrow gorges which offer a suitable site for river damming and which also increases the water pressure behind the dam for generating hydroelectric power.
- presence of hard basement rock, which offered the firm foundation for the construction of the dam
- Little and unreliable rainfall which necessitated the storing of water for use during the dry season
- A large tract of land to accommodate the reservoir / man-made lake upstream.
- This is due to the sparse population in the area allowing easy compensation of displaced people.
- The need to provide hydroelectric power for domestic and industrial use. There was a large market for hydroelectricity.
- presence of adequate capital for the construction of the project from the government of Egypt
- High level of technology used in setting up the project such as the use of large turbines to produce quality work.