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Aswan Dam (The High Dam)

Because of the saturation of the Old Dam, which was raised two times after its inauguration, it was decided to build a new dam 6 kilometers to the south. The planning began in 1954 led by Nasser, just after the Egyptian Revolution. When The United States and England refused to finance the project through the Monetary Fund, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which was until that time controlled by Britain and managed by a French company. This caused the War of 56 when the United Kingdom, France and Israel attacked Egypt. The United States obliged the attackers to retreat their troops and Nasser could then use the income of the Suez Canal to finance the project. In 1958, the Soviet Union agreed to help financing and building the Dam. Besides technical and financial support, it offered about 15000 experts and engineers from The Soviet Union and Eastern European countries. The works began in 1960 and were completed on 21 July 1970, The reservoir began filling in 1964 and first reached capacity in 1976. With the beginning of the works, the UNESCO began a massive operation to save the Nubian monuments that would have been lost for ever beneath the waters of the new Nasser Lake. Aswan High Dam is 3,830m long, 980m wide at the base, 40m wide at the crest and 111m high. It contains 43 million m³ of materials. At maximum, 11,000 m³ of water can pass through the dam every second. There are further emergency spillways for an extra 5000 m³ per second. Toshka Canal links the reservoir to the Toshka Depression. The reservoir, named Lake Nasser, is 550 km long and 35 km at its widest with a surface area of 5,250 km² and holds 111 km³ of water. More than 100,000 Egyptian workers, 15,000 Soviet experts, 10 years period and enough rocks to build 17 Great Pyramids at Giza were used in the construction of Aswan High Dam. The dam helped increasing the cultivated area by 30% and it generates more than 10 billion kilowatts every year of electricity. But the dam has also produced several negative side effects. More than 100,000 Nubians had to abandon their homes. The fertile land of the Nile Valley began to become poorer as the rich silt that normally fertilized the dry desert land during annual floods is now stuck at the bottom of Lake Nasser and Farmers have to use artificial fertilizer as substitutes for natural nutrients.

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