A Great Engineering Feat Completed

Science American

With the laying, on the first day of the present month, of the last coping stone of the great dam across the river Nile at Assouan, the ancient land of the Pharaohs sees the completion of a national work, which is not only the greatest of its kind in existence, but in its beneficent results will probably outrank any scheme carried out in Egypt either in ancient or modern times. The completion of this dam and a similar structure at Assiout will provide in the Nile valley a vast reservoir capable of supplying over a billion cubic yards of water every year. The surplus waters of the river will be stored during the flood season, and then drawn upon for the irrigation of wide tracts of land which for many centuries past have lain waste for want of water. As a result of the new system of irrigation, there are extensive tracts of land which henceforth will bear two crops a year where formerly they bore but one; while the area devoted to sugar cultivation will be greatly increased. The Assouan dam itself is one of the greatest engineering works in existence. It is no less than 1¼ miles in length and it is pierced by 180 sluice gates 25 feet in height and 7 feet in width, by means of which the regulation of the waters will be secured. The total cost of the two dams will be about $25,000,000, and the work has already proved itself to be an important economic feature in the life of the Egyptian people, for no less than fourteen thousand natives have found continuous employemtn during the progress of the work. The inauguration and rapid development of this great scheme have been due entirely to the enterprise of a western race, entirely alien to the Egyptian people; and there is something peculiarly fitting in the fact that Egypt, which contributed so largely in its earlier days to the world's arts and sciences, should in these later times be thus richly endowed by the highly developed engineering skill of our modern civilization.

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