The Facts about the Nile River

The old saying “The Nile is Egypt and Egypt is the Nile” is most assuredly true. The Nile River is present in nine different countries. Egypt, being most dependent on it. The Nile cuts its coarse right through the center of Egypt and provides water and rich soil for those who live there. The High Aswan Dam was built in the Nile to keep it from flooding and destroying the lives of the inhabitants and their crops. Those who live by the Nile greatly depend upon it.

The Nile River is the longest river in the world. It is located in Africa and is 4,160 miles (6,695 km) long. The average amount of water flow in the Nile is 18,933 gal. (3.1 million liters) per second. And it flows through nine countries; Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt. Its two main tributaries are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia and makes up approximately 70% of the Nile River. The White Nile begins at Lake Victoria in Uganda. From there it flows north till it eventually meets the short yet powerful Blue Nile in Sudan. After the two rivers combine they travel through several countries, past the desert and the ancient pyramids, until they reach the delta, where the river fans out and then ends up in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Aswan High Dam, located in the city of Aswan, straddles the Nile and is the biggest rock filled dam in the world. It was built because every year between the months of March and May, the Nile River would flood. Most of the time the flooding was a good thing, fertilizing and watering the crops that grew along the rivers edge. However, sometimes the flood was too small or too big and would cause a drought or become so powerful that it would over run the city, killing many people and damaging their crops. So in 1960 president Nasser of Egypt set off the first round of dynamite which officially began the building of the dam. After ten years and a lot of trouble the dam was finally completed. Pres. Nasser died two months afterwords, and the lake which was formed by the dam was named in his honor. The project cost about 1 billion dollars and took 50 thousand men to build. The dam is a total of 364 ft. (111 m) high and 12,562 ft. (3,829 km) long. The artificial lake created in result of the dam is 300 miles long, stores trillions of gallons of water and is as big as the state of Delaware. Around 40 million people depend on its water.

The dam was beneficial in a lot of ways, it held back the sometimes fierce floods that came every year, but it also created problems. The farmers living along the river who had depended on the yearly flooding now had to resort to other means of irrigating and fertilizing their crops. They now use a nitrogen based fertilizer which runs off into the Nile and creates pollution problems. The riverbanks are also starting to erode because without the annual flooding the banks lack the sediment deposits need to keep the dirt from being swept away by the river. Hyacinth weeds now cultivate in the river as well. And since these hyacinth weeds deplete the oxygen content in the water, they have killed most of the fish. Sadly, the wonderful Nile is being polluted.

The Nile River, the longest river in the world, is beautiful. It sustains many people and flows through and supports many of the countries in Africa. It has been the key ingredient in sustaining the farmers and others who have lived on its banks for thousands of years. The Aswan High Dam has solved many problems and has helped man to protect and control the rivers ferocious power. The Nile truly is a great and marvelous river. There is a legend that says if you take one sip from the Nile, then you will be sure to come back for more.