IRRIGATION AND DRAINAGE IN EGYPT

The Nile is the major river and the lifeline of the country. The mean annual supply of the Nile at Aswan is 84 billion m3. The Delta Barrages, the Aswan Dam and the High Dam are the major projects. Other important irrigation projects include Mohammed Ali Barrage. The groundwater resources are of the order of 500 million m3. Around 3 million ha area is under irrigation. Irrigation has been practiced in the Nile Valley from the earliest times. Natural inundation from floodwaters began from the middle of the nineteenth century. The pre-historic individual efforts consisted of the embanking of some narrow creeks of the Nile during floods to irrigate their own fields, followed by embanking small bays in the hills where at both ends the highlands came closer to the river. King Menes the First (3400 BC), however, first undertook the large-scale basining of the Nile Valley. The basin systems continued to be the means of irrigation until about 1820 when cultivation of cotton and sugarcane requiring perennial irrigation was introduced. In 1826, a system of deep canals for irrigation in Lower Egypt was developed. Engineers from India where similar works were in existence were called upon to assist in construction/remodeling of barrages.