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Aswan Dam

Aswan High Dam
The Aswan High Dam as seen from space
Aswan Dam is located in Egypt
Aswan Dam
Location of the Aswan Dam in Egypt
Official name Aswan High Dam
Location Egypt
Coordinates view on map
Construction began 1960
Opening date 1970
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Embankment
Impounds River Nile
Height 111 m (364 ft)
Length 3,830 m (12,570 ft)
Width (base) 980 m (3,220 ft)
Spillway capacity 11,000 m3/s (390,000 cu ft/s)
Creates Lake Nasser
Total capacity 132 km3 (107,000,000 acre·ft)
Surface area 5,250 km2 (2,030 sq mi)
Max. length 550 km (340 mi)
Max. width 35 km (22 mi)
Max. water depth 180 m (590 ft)
Normal elevation 183 m (600 ft)
Power station
Commission date 1967–1971
Turbines 12× 175 MW (235,000 hp) Francis-type
Installed capacity 2,100 MW (2,800,000 hp)
Annual generation 10,042 GWh (2004)

The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam built across the Nile at Aswan, Egypt between 1898 and 1902. Since the 1960s, the name commonly refers to the Aswan High Dam. Construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the Egyptian Government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, as the ability to control floods, provide water for irrigation, and generate hydroelectricity were seen as pivotal to Egypt's industrialization. The High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1970, and has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt.

Before the dams were built, the Nile flooded every year during late summer, when water flowed down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water and natural nutrients and minerals that annually enriched the fertile soil along the floodplain and delta; this had made the Nile valley ideal for farming since ancient times. Because floods vary, in high-water years the whole crop might be wiped out, while in low-water years widespread drought and famine occasionally occurred. As Egypt's population grew and conditions changed, both a desire and ability developed to control the floods, and thus both protect and support farmland and the economically important cotton crop. With the reservoir storage provided by the Aswan dams, the floods could be lessened and the water stored for later release.

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