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Case Study: Irrigation in Egypt p115
Where is Egypt?
Egypt is a country in North Africa.
How can Egypt support a population of 60 million?
Libya and Africa include large areas of desert. Libya has a population of 5 million but Egypt
has 60 million. Over 99% of Egypt's population live on only 4% of the land area as this is
along the River Nile.
How do the land reclamation schemes work?
There have been about 20 land reclamation schemes alone the River Nile, which have
increased the irrigated and cultivated land by almost 2 million hectares.
Water is released from the Aswan Dam at times of low flow to maintain the river level.
Farmers use a variety of techniques to lift the water out of the river:
Traditional methods include the shaduf as seen in the picture below
Although increasingly diesel and electric pumps are now being used by wealthier
The water is then fed along open channels to the fields where it floods small patches of land
separated by banks of clay soil called bunds. The farmers can now produce two or three
crops from the same land area in one year.
Schemes such as these have increased the water supply, created more land for people to
farm and increased food supplies.
What are the disadvantages of the Aswam Dam?
However, the building of the dam and expansion of farmland have also caused problems for
the environment. Some of the irrigation schemes have made the soils salty and
unusablefarmers now need to buy expensive chemical fertilisers to keep the soil healthy.
Over 2 million hectares of land have been affected, Lake Nasser, located behind the dam
has increased in the threat of disease.
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Lake Nasser is gradually silting up and it will eventually need to be dredged of abandoned.
This has caused the Nile delta at the river mouth to become smaller because it is starved of
its supply of sediment.…read more