The Aswan High Dam
Aswan has two dams, the old Aswan Dam at the First Cataract built at the beginning of the 20th Century, and the new High Dam which lies some 6km upstream. A massive construction project an oft trotted-out statistic is that the High Dam used 18 times more material in the Great Pyramid at Giza. Completed in 1971 it is 3.6km long, 980 metres thick at its base and is 111metres high; behind it stands Lake Nasser. The High Dam had a considerable effect on Egypt’s agricultural economy raising cultivatable land by 30% but also bringing with it problems such as the lack of fertile floodwater silt meaning dangerous salts build up in the land and water table as artificial fertilisers are used.