Third World Centre for Water Management

Communications

Aswan dam revisited: The benefits of a much-maligned dam

Asit K. Biswas

 

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Development & Cooperation | Number 6 | November-December, 2002

Of all the dams in the world, the Aswan High Dam is unquestionably most wellknown. It is also the most vilified dam in the world. An important question that has never been asked is why this dam is so well-known globally, when there are many other dams, which are much larger and/or more spectacular. Engineering-wise, it is a somewhat average dam. It is not as aweinsprising as the Ataturk Dam in Turkey, or not as spectacular as many other much smaller dams like the Yagisawa Dam in Japan. Yet, very few people outside Japan have ever heard of Yagisawa Dam. Even in Japan, the Aswan Dam is better known than the Yagisawa Dam. The logical question then to ask is why this anomaly exists? This is a question that has never been asked, let alone answered.

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