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By Hussein M. Fahim

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Human and other natural resource problems created by dams will not disappear if ignored; they can, however, be minimized or solved advantageously by early thinking procedures and by timely, sound action (Lagler, 1969). Accordingly, dams must be viewed in their integrative totality and assessed in broader perspectives.

The crop area increased 20 percent in the two decades between 1952 and 1972. Officials cite the 1972 drought, when stored water saved the vital rice and cotton crops. On the other hand, in 1974 and 1975, the Nile floods were excessively high, and were it not for the Aswan High Dam, a good portion of the valley would have been inundated, resulting in the destruction of crops and villages. In Egypt, where 94 percent of the people live on approximately 5 percent of the land and the rest of the land is barren desert, the Aswan High Dam was built primarily for water storage to increase agricultural production.

The question of the human stress that is usually associated with displacement and the benefits of the relocation are treated at length in chapter four. A further factor that needs to be examined in assessing economic costs and benefits is the cultural loss caused by inundating lands known to be rich in antiquities and monuments of past civilizations. ). Contrary to several archaeologists who decried the damage that the Aswan project would bring to Nubia's historical treasures, the late Walter Emery, a British archaeologist, argued that the potential benefits of the Aswan High Dam and the new resources of the lake are enormous and could not possibly be sacrificed in the interests of historical and artistic treasures.

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