HIGH DAM ASWAN Name: Institution: High Dam Aswan The High Dam at Aswan was built across the Nile between two short valleys, Khor Kundi and Khor Agama that descend the east bank at right angles to the river near the head of the first cataract, which is approximately 680 miles south of the sea, 590 miles south of Cairo, and 40 miles north of the Tropic of Cancer…
The choice of this site for the dam was determined by the amount of water that was necessary to impound to make Egypt independent of the annual flood. The old dam had carried the yearly control of the Nile to its limit without altering the country’s dependence on flood and the only way to advance past its position, to ensure independence of the river’s vagaries, was to impound enough water for a number of years. Daninos had marked the existence of a very large natural basin to the south of Aswan town capable of offering century storage if the gap caused by the Nile in its northern rim were closed. An aerial survey with five-meter contours confirmed the truth of the Daninos claims and it remained then the only one to choose the most suitable location within the agreed site. The Nile cut out deep trenches into the rainless region stretching from Khartoum to Aswan. Its journey lies through an extensive sandstone plateau that is broken at intervals by the granite that has crystallized and hardened through the ages and tilted in tougher layers. These jagged interludes in the sandstone wilderness form the cataracts or natural gateways, where the valley narrows between cliffs islands of brokers where the river is narrow and rocks hard, that engineers seek to found their dams. North of the Egyptian frontier they have always been interested in two points, Aswan an, about forty miles to the south, Kalabsha. Bab el-Kalabsha, a gateway of the dark, a shinning rock that is narrower than valleys at Aswan, has always seemed a most natural site, but was rejected for High Dam as it was for the old. In the first place, it would reduce the length of the reservoir inside Egypt by forty miles.2 The land also falls away from the Kalabsha gateway to such an extent that the wings of the dam would have to stretch for four miles across unstable sandstone of each bank of the river, whereas the valley at Aswan was less than four miles from hill to hill and the banks were made of igneous rocks. Aswan had the advantages such a linking with the telegraphs, rail and roads to Cairo and Egyptian ports and the hydro-electric station at the old dam was a necessary source of power for the work of construction. Eventually, the matter of sultans called in to assess the project by their decision that the upstream defenses of the dam, the safe construction, could be built with less hazard at Aswan than in more turbulent region of Kalabsha. In 1952, the Egyptian government asked Hochtief and its associates to design a dam that would offer the country complete control of the annual and seasonal flow of the Nile. The main objective was to close the northern rim of the natural basin with a big wall so that surplus of any annual food was low. The plan to lest the reservoir fill slowly flood was not as straightforward as it seemed since the behavior of the Nile is something of an enigma. In 1960, President Nasser dynamited 20,000 tons of granite for the commencement of the High Dam. The first attempt to construct the Dam started in 11th century. During this period, Ibn al-Haytham, an Arab engineer and polymath was responsible for the dam construction. The British had initially planned for the low dam in 1898 and it lasted for four years. The engineer responsible for the construction during this period was Sir William Willcocks. Adrian ...
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