Aswan Reservoir or Aswan Dam, which is different from the High Dam. Work on its construction began in the city of Aswan in southern Egypt between 1899 and 1906. The foundation stone was laid by the Khedive Abbas Helmy II and it was inaugurated during his reign. The Aswan Reservoir is 946 km away from the Delta Barrage known as Qanatir al-Khairia.
The old Aswan Dam was the first dam to be built of this size and the largest dam built in the world at that time. Then it was elevated in 1912; Then the second ramp in 1926 to impound the water during the flood of the Nile, where the water is drained in the quantities necessary for irrigation during the burning period.
The reservoir is 2,141 meters long, 9 meters wide and has 180 gates. It is built from the granite stone available in the area.
The water rushing from it was exploited to make two power stations, the first Aswan Generating Station and the Second Aswan Power Plant. With the construction of a road on it linking the eastern and western banks of the Nile.
He was the first to think about building it
The first recorded thought was to build a reservoir near Aswan during the eleventh century AD. At that time the famous Arab mathematician Al-Hassan Ibn Al-Haytham – known in the West as Alhazen – was invited by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim Bi-Amr Allah to coordinate the use of the Nile flood.
This was the first thought of constructing a dam on the Nile to hold back the flood waters. And after al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham explored that area at Aswan and the expansion of the Nile, he was convinced that this great work could not be done at that time.
It is said that he was afraid that the Caliph would be angry with him over a negative report from him, so he claimed delirium. And the Caliph specified his residence in the year 1011 by remaining in his house under house arrest and not leaving it, until Al-Hakim died by the command of God in the year 1021.
During that period, Al-Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham wrote his books on optics and others called Al-Manahir; (Seven volumes in the field of optics, physics, mathematics and psychology).
Despite the design that was determined from the height of the reservoir due to the consideration that the Philae temple, located on an island in the middle of the Nile, did not sink, it turned out that it was not sufficient for future needs after operating the reservoir.
Two ramps were carried out for the dam, the first height of 5 meters between 1907-1912 and the second heightening of 9 meters during the years 1929-1933, and the production of electricity also increased.
The first stage took place under the auspices of Sir Benjamin Packer, although the meticulous detailed design was done by Murdoch MacDonald.
After the last ramp carried out by McDonald’s, including the design and construction (McDonald’s & Co.), the reservoir became 1,950 meters long, and the water in it reached 36 meters above the original river bed. The reservoir is the main road for transportation between the city of Aswan and the airport.
After the end of the construction of the High Dam, 6 km south of the Aswan Reservoir, the Aswan Reservoir did not allow the passage of the useful Nile silt to the lands. He then lowered the height of the water in the Aswan reservoir and is now regulating the water down from the High Dam.
Its agricultural uses
Although the Aswan Reservoir was large in its ancient era, it was not sufficient for the water needs of Egypt in times of drought – even after it was raised twice.
The volume of water stored in it was about 5 billion cubic meters of water, which was not enough to feed all the agricultural canals in Egypt.
In the years of low floods, it did not meet the agricultural need – periods of drought that also occurred in the Pharaonic eras.
At the same time, the population of Egypt has increased in our modern age. This is what led during the fifties of the last century to think about building the High Dam, which is about 6 km south of the Aswan Reservoir, where the Nile waters come from the south.
Two power stations were built on the Aswan Reservoir to exploit the water falling from the reservoir to generate electricity.
The first station was completed in 1960 and the second Aswan power station was built between 1985-1986.
Aswan First Station contains 7 generators, each with a capacity of 40 MW, to produce a total electric power of 280 MW.
The station is located to the west of the reservoir. Aswan’s second power station contains 4 generators, each with a capacity of 68 megawatts, producing a total power of 270 megawatts.
It has been in existence for 118 years, and so far it has been working and contributing to organizing and storing water and generating the necessary electricity.