Mediterranean Sea. It flows north to south through much of eastern
Africa. Heavy rainfalls cause the Nile to flood each summer. Because
of seasonal rains farther south in Africa, the Nile overflowed its
banks in Egypt every year. When the floodwaters drew back, a rich
black soil covered the floodplain. This natural phenomenon and its
effects on the environment enabled the ancient Egyptians to develop a
successful economy based on agriculture. The Nile served as a water
highway for the people, a constant source of life-giving water, and
the sustainer of all plants and animals.
Aswān High Dam, dam across the Nile River in southern Egypt, located
near the city of Aswān in 1964. The dam impounds Lake Nasser, one of
the largest reservoirs in the world. By mid-1968 construction was
essentially completed. The dam was formally installed in 1971. It has
a generating capacity of 2,100 megawatts of electricity.
'What's Done Is Done'
Although the Aswan High Dam has provided many benefits to the area, it
also has caused problems. The formation of Lake Nasser flooded many
villages along the Nile in both Egypt and Sudan, forcing thousands of
people to change place. Farmland along the Nile is becoming less
fertile and productive because it no longer receives the fertilizing
silt from the river's floodwaters. Farmers have attempted to use
chemical fertilizers instead, but these are not as effective. Although
the dams now control the Nile flooding, they have severely reduced the
deposits of sediment and the fertility of the valley and the delta.
The environmental impact of the dams has been profound, as stretches
of the river above the dams have become blocked with silt, and
decreased flooding has led to increased erosion and greater salt
content in the soil and water of the delta. Local communities and
ancient sites in Egypt and Sudan were either submerged or relocated
because of the dams.
According to the research of National Geographic Society in 1993, by
the Oceanographer Daniel J.Stanley studying of focusing on the
environmental conditions of the Nile River Delta, why the delta is
subsiding? Modern influences including population growth, pollution,
shrinking agriculture lands, irrigation canals, saltwater intrusion
are destroying the Nile River Delta.
'Where Dams Dare'
The river Irrawaddy flows from north to south in Burma was challenged
to build a big dam. It was started to plan to be 500 feet wide and 500
feet high. The Myitson Dam will be the fifteenth largest hydroelectric
power station in the world if Myitson dam project was not suspended by
Burma's president U Thein Sein. If completed as planned in 2017, the
people live around the river Irrawaddy would face same problems as the
environmental conditions of the Nile river delta. If the suspension
means stopping construction, it will entirely comfort our worries
about the delta dam.
The Irrawaddy is the longest river in Burma and its waters make
farming possible for the people of hot, dry places around the river.
It gives people transportation, fishing, swimming, agricultures and
natural resources. It gives artists pleasure and we can dream our old
memories. I had posted essays and articles about the river Irrawaddy
while I heard the plan of the river Irrawaddy dam. I admit that I did
not have complete knowledge as the geographic specialists of the
environmental conditions or what happened if the Irrawaddy Delta
imperiled. But I could wish my beautiful memories to be bound each
generation to each generation by natural faithfulness.
'Metaphors of the Irrawaddy'
(photo(above) – When I visited some remarkable places near Pyay(town
in the Bago Division in Burma, Pyay is positioned on the Irrawaddy
River) in 2005 by boat along the river Irrawaddy, I was near one of
the branches of the river. If we compare the river Irrawaddy with
'head and body', her branches will be 'hands, fingers and legs' of the
river. Its water describes as 'heart and soul'.
See how romantic view of the stream naturally flowing beside me! I
wish these memories altogether will be as beautiful as forever.)
(1) Science and Technology; essay 'The Shrinking of the Delta' from
Frontiers II by Isaac and Janet Asimov 1993.
(2) From the research paper of National Geographic Society and
Smithsonian Institution, by Oceanographer Daniel Jean Stanley in 1993.
(3) Microsoft Encarta of 2009