Impacts of the Aswan High Dam After 50 Years

Abstract

Objectives

Perform an assessment of the environmental and health impacts of the Aswan High Dam (AHD) after nearly 50 years of operation. This paper describes the effect the AHD had on (1) the prevalence and incidence of schistosomiasis in Egypt, (2) sedimentation in the reservoir formed by the AHD (Lake Nasser in Egypt and Lake Nubia in North Sudan), (3) soil water logging and subsequent soil salinization in the Nile Delta (4) coastal retreat along the Egyptian Mediterranean Sea.

Results

• Schistosomiasis has decreased in Egypt since the AHD.

• Agricultural fields in the Nile Valley and Delta tend to waterlogged and since the water is not flushed out annually, the soils are saltier and so less fertile. However, the AHD affords multi-cropping during the year and Egyptian farmers have adopted better seeds and harvesting methods. Overall, agricultural production in Egypt has increased.

• Coastal erosion is severe in some areas, especially at the Rosetta and Damietta promontories. Efforts to stop the overall coastline retreat have been largely unsuccessful. Other areas of the Egyptian Mediterranean coastline are stable or have accreted.

• Reservoir-induced seismicity is not an issue.

• Deterioration of low-lying ancient Egyptian monuments due to seepage water from irrigation is a problem.

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Correspondence to Scot E. Smith.

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Abd-El Monsef, H., Smith, S.E. & Darwish, K. Impacts of the Aswan High Dam After 50 Years. Water Resour Manage 29, 1873–1885 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11269-015-0916-z

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Keywords

  • Aswan High Dam
  • Egypt
  • Nile
  • Environmental impact