The Aswan High Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt.The High Dam construction began in 1960 and was completed on July 21,1970. It aimed to increase economic production by further regulating the annual river flooding and providing storage of water for agriculture, and later, to generate hydroelectricity.
The Aswan Low Dam was first completed in 1902. After the Low Dam was almost over-topped in 1946, the British administration decided that rather than raise the dam a third time, a second dam should be built some approximately four miles upriver.
Before the dams were built, the Nile River flooded each year during late summer, as 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 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.
The Aswan High Dam is more than 12,000 feet long long and 3,200 feet wide at the base. At maximum, 36,000 cubic feet per second of water can pass through the dam.
The dam powers twelve generators each rated at 175 megawatts, producing a hydroelectric output of 2.1 gigawatts. Power generation began in 1967. When the dam first reached peak output it produced around half of Egypt's entire electricity production (about 15% by 1998) and allowed most Egyptian villages to use electricity for the first time.
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section of the ASCE website.