positive facet of this dam is the fact that it was built with gates which allowed the nutrient-rich silt and soil to pass through the dam providing the annual enrichment of the floodplain all the way to the Delta. At present, this dam serves several purposes but it does not hold back the Nile. The roadway across the Nile runs across the top to connect the two sides of the city of Aswan. It also has two electric turbines which provide some power for the city. And it does catch some waters of the Nile from the annual flooding though it does not store those waters. This dam is a gravity masonry buttress style of construction and it is 6398 ft in length and 118 feet at the crest above the riverbed. There is a small park at the site to exhibit its building and importance to the city and the country. It also provides excellent views of the first cataract and Aswan on both sides of the river. The Aswan High Dam was planned in 1954 before Egypt became independent of Britain. Due to cold war politics the USA and Britain pulled out of the project because of differences with Nasser who had assumed leadership in Egypt when Nasser abrogated the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty and became fully independent. Through various machinations, Russia stepped in and pledged $1,200,000,000 (US dollars) to fund the project. The dam was built between l960 and l970. Economic development by further controlling the flow of the Nile and increased agricultural production through irrigation projects facilitated by the reservoir created by the dam were the chief reasons for its construction. Both of those goals have been realized. Our Nile riverboat cruise was a gift of the Aswan High Dam. There were both anticipated and unanticipated consequences resulting from the building of this great dam. Changes in the water-flow with nutrient deposition at the delta was acknowledged as a probable outcome and it has produced lessened cotton harvests and alterations in the Mediterranean itself due to lighter soil loads. Because none of the Nile floodplain north of the dam receives the refreshment of the annual flooding, more and more chemical fertilizers are necessary to keep crop production up. This cause pollution of the Mediterranean Sea as well with unknown alterations in the sea life there. This affects fishermen everywhere on the North African coast.
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