The first diversion dams (barrages) were completed in 1861 as a means of raising water levels to allow for irrigation and navigation of the river. Since then the delta barrage plans have been improved upon with more dams being built. This is when modern irrigation methods were introduced into the Nile valley. Three more barrages were built between 1902 and 1930.
In 1902, the first dam at Aswan was built. The dam was built about 600 miles from Cairo. It was constructed to allow for navigation through its four locks.
Construction work on the Aswan Dam was started in 1959 and was completed in 1970. It was built as a source of hydroelectric power, to provide water for irrigation, and to protect the crops and the people living in the areas downstream from heavy flooding. The dam rises 364 feet above the river and is 12,562 feet long along the top of the dam. The hydroelectric plant can produce up to 2,100 megawatts.
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