Why is the Aswan Dam important to the environment?



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    The Aswan Dam in Egypt dams the Nile River, and was originally built to provide water for irrigation and industrial use, as well as for generation of hydropower electricity, and to control the Nile’s annual floods. At the same time however, the dam has had some negative environmental impacts. The dam traps sediment and nutrients carried downstream by the waters of the Nile, meaning that less nutrients reach the river’s mouth and the ocean; this has had a negative effect on ocean food chains and the fish that depend on them. Dams also increase the amount of water lost from a river to evaporation, and this is significant in an arid country like Egypt, where water is in short supply. Finally, irrigation projects made possible by the dam seem to be aiding the spread of the water-born disease bilharzia.

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