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The Nubians and The High Dam

The High Dam
The Aswan High Dam is 3600 metres long and 111 metres high.
The Soviet Union helped the Egyptian government to build the dam.
The Aswan High Dam has 12 turbines which generate over 10 billion kilowatts of electricity every year.
Construction started on the dam in 1960 and it was completed in 1971.
The Aswan High Dam took 11 years to build.
30 000 Egyptian people worked day and night to build the Aswan High Dam.
Lake Nasser was created behind the Aswan High Dam. It is the largest artificial lake in the World (310 miles in length). It is named after Gamal Abdul Nasser, the former President of Egypt

The High Dam is located just south of the city of Aswan in Egypt. .The High Dam was constructed not only to regulate the yearly flood of the Nile, but also to create a water reservoir capable of storing water to prevent famine during severe droughts. Construction of the Dam began in 1960 as a national project, undertaken by Egyptian president Nasser who nationalized the Suez Canal to provide funds for the project. With the American and the British refusing to secure a loan for the construction, it was the Soviets that designed the earth structure and provided the equipment required to build the power station. During the course of construction, provisions were made to repatriate the Nubian inhabitants, and, in a multi-national effort, to relocate The Great Temple of Abu Simbel.
In 1970, the Aswan High Dam was inaugurated by president Sadat. Today, the reservoir known as Lake Nasser spans approximately 500 kilometers across the Egyptian-Sudanese border. In spite of the ecological problems caused by the dam, it has been a blessing to the Egyptian community. It left the country unaffected by the drought that hit Africa during the late 1980's, and, in the 1990's, spared Egypt several unexpectedly high floods. A regulated agricultural system is now in place, and, in 1996, for the first time, the water in Nasser Lake rose above the spill level. Plans are underway to populate the area along the spillway of Toshka and to create new communities along the recently constructed Zayed Canal in the heart of the Sahara Desert.
The Aswan Dams
The Aswan High Dam was designed to control the Nile River. The huge dam controls flooding and stores water for times of drought, it is equipped to provide hydroelectric power. .The High dam was actually the second dam at Aswan, the first one having been built in 1889. At the time Egypt was controlled by the British and they were interested in increased irrigation capabilities for cash crops, such as cotton. Due to the irregular flooding pattern of the Nile river and increased water demands, the dam had to be raised on 2 occasions (1912 and 1933) in order to ensure its continued usefulness and safety. When debates began again over raising the dam a third time, suggestions were made to possibly build a new super dam.
It wasn't until Egypt experience a revolution in 1952 that the political climate allowed the feasibility of a new dam to be properly studied. The new dam, the Aswan High Dam, was a technical marvel, being "5 kilometers long at its crest, and 1 kilometer thick at its base, and rises 107 meters above sea level." With the dam's hydroelectric capabilities, the Egyptian government strives to obtain the maximum benefits available from every gallon of water that flows down the Nile.
And, while most people would agree the flood control and the electricity the dam provides helps economic growth, the cost of these benefits must also be examined. When the Aswan Dam was built, the country of Nubia was flooded. The Egyptian government made arrangements for the Nubians to be relocated, but their lifestyle was destroyed. In fact many of the nomadic tribes in the area were not warned of the changes that would be happening to the river, which affected their routines in caring for their livestock. Prior to the appearance of Lake Nasser, as the northern part of the reservoir created by the dam is known, the Nubians cultivated plots along the shore. Those areas are now completely underwater. Many people have left the settlements that were created for them and returned to the lake's edge, trying to recreate their lost culture.
The Nile River is the main artery for Egypt and Nubia: the present course of the river, traceable to at least 25,000 years ago, is a determining factor of the topography of the region. In a relatively rainless region, it is only because of the river's annual flood that these areas became habitable and arable.
The yearly flood of the Nile is caused by late summer rains in the plateau region of Ethiopia, which in turn swell the tributaries of the Nile. At the peak of the flood, the volume of the river's flow increases by as much as sixteen fold. Variable amounts of rainfall to Ethiopia cause stunning differences in the amount of flooding seen farther down the course of the Nile. In a "lean year," such as 1913-1914, 12 billion cubic meters of flood water swelled the river. A "fat year," such as 1878-79, saw the level of the river increase by 155 billion cubic meters of water.
At the turn of the century, agricultural production was being outstripped by the growth of the population in Egypt and the Sudan: the Nile had to be controlled if there was to be agricultural stability along its banks. Harnessing the power of the Nile would also yield the hydroelectric power necessary for industry. To the increasingly industrial societies of the region, the choice was clear. In 1899, construction of the first Aswan Dam was begun. Completed in 1902, its height was raised in subsequent building campaigns of 1907-12 and 1929-34. Even with these renovations, the first, or "Low," dam proved to have an inadequate reservoir area. In the event of extreme flooding, it would be necessary to open the sluices of the dam to relieve the water pressure against it, flooding the areas thought to be protected. A second dam was necessary at Aswan, and in the early 1950s, designs began to be drawn for what was to become the High Dam as Aswan. With the signing of the Nile Water Agreement by Egypt and the Sudan in November of 1959, work began on the second Aswan dam.
The building of the High Dam at Aswan would have grave implications. Much of Lower Nubia would be submerged under the reservoir created by the dam, destroying monuments and archaeological sites from the First to the Third Cataracts of the Nile River. Ambitious rescue operations were begun in 1960, after an appeal was issued by Vittorino Veronese, the Director-General of UNESCO.(United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) Three stages of operations were necessary: survey of the area, excavation of archaeological sites, and the final movement of as many endangered monuments as was possible.
Twenty monuments from the Egyptian part of Nubia and four monuments from the Sudan were dismantled, relocated and re-erected. Many others were identified during the survey, and were documented before their subsequent inundation. Special permits were issued by the Egyptian and Sudanese governments for archaeological excavations conducted by multinational teams of researchers, including those from the University of Pennsylvania. In the end, however, time ran out. It became clear that it would not be possible to document many of the sites of Lower Nubia completely, and that much of the information which careful archaeological excavation can yield would be lost forever.
The Nubian part of the Nile valley is under the water now backed up behind the 225-foot High Dam at Aswan . It is estimated that Lake Nasser, which extend to the south almost three hundred miles behind the Dam, will have a surface area of more than 2000 square miles. It was hope that the water from the lake would increase the productive area of Egypt by more than 30 percent and that the turbines at the dam would provide significant amount of electric power for the country. Part of the price for this huge attempt to solve Egypt's economic problems and to move towards modernity was the drowning of much of cultural history of the area and the removal of the Nubian peoples from their traditional homeland. Approximately 50,000 Nubians in Egypt and another 50,000 in Sudan were suddenly uprooted from the lonely quietude of their isolated Nile villages and transplanted into prepared compact settlements of stone houses far removed from the great river .The Nubians were provided with new communities, in addition to being compensated financially to some degree for their losses. In spite of the intensive archaeological efforts prior to the completion of the dam, it is certain that much more important evidence in this historically significant battleground of the ancient world has been irretrievably lost beneath the water .


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