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Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Century-old Assiut barrages rebuilt in Egypt's latest hydroelectric project

New barrages in Assiut replace the old and famous Assiut barrages built and inaugurated 115 years ago

Ahram Online , Sunday 12 Aug 2018
Constructing Assiut barrages
Constructing the Assiut barrages in 1900 (Photo: Mostafa Taher)
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Earlier Sunday, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi inaugurated new Assiut barrage project, the latest hydroelectric project in the country.

The new hydroelectric plant includes four turbines and is the largest water project conducted on the Nile River north of the High Dam, according to the Egyptian presidency.

The new Assiut barrages
The new Assiut barrages (Photo: Mostafa Taher)

The new Assiut barrages replace the old and famous Assiut barrages built and inaugurated 115 years ago. The Egyptian Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation announced earlier that the old Assiut barrages would be turned into a touristic site. 

History of the Assiut barrages

In 1898, the construction of the Assiut barrages began. The project was designed by famous British engineer Sir William Wilcox.

The Assiut barrages were constructed between 1898 and 1903 in parallel with Egypt's first dam, the Aswan "low dam," which was constructed between 1899 and 1902 during the era of Khedive Abbas II. The Aswan low dam was also designed by Wilcox.

Constructing Assiut barrages
Constructing Assiut barrages in early 20th century. (Photo: Mostafa Taher)

The Assiut barrages aimed to divert Nile River water into the country's largest irrigation canal, the Ibrahimiya Canal in Minya governorate, during the low water season.

Constructing Assiut barrages
Constructing Assiut barrages in early 20th century (Photo: Mostafa Taher)

The initial cost of the project, when construction began, was £525,000. The final cost after inauguration was £870,000.

In 1933, during the reign of King Fouad I, the Assiut barrages were renovated and upgraded under the supervision of Egyptian engineers led by Hamed Soliman.

Upgrading and renovating Assiut barrages
Upgrading and renovating Assiut barrages in the 1930s (Photo:Mostafa Taher)

Finished in 1938, during the reign of King Farouk, the Assiut barrages renovation operation cost EGP1,250,000.

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