21 July 1970

After 11 years of construction, the Aswan High Dam in Egypt is completed.

Aswan Dam

Aswan High Dam
BarragemAssuão.jpg
The Aswan High Dam as seen from space
Aswan Dam is located in Egypt
Aswan Dam
Location of the Aswan Dam in Egypt
Official nameAswan High Dam
LocationAswan, Egypt
Coordinates23°58′14″N 32°52′40″E / 23.97056°N 32.87778°E / 23.97056; 32.87778Coordinates: 23°58′14″N 32°52′40″E / 23.97056°N 32.87778°E / 23.97056; 32.87778
Construction began1960
Opening date1970
Demolition dateNever
Owner(s)Egypt
Dam and spillways
Type of damEmbankment
ImpoundsRiver Nile
Height111 m (364 ft)
Length3,830 m (12,570 ft)
Width (base)980 m (3,220 ft)
Spillway capacity11,000 m3/s (390,000 cu ft/s)
Reservoir
CreatesLake Nasser
Total capacity132 km3 (107,000,000 acre⋅ft)
Surface area5,250 km2 (2,030 sq mi)
Maximum length550 km (340 mi)
Maximum width35 km (22 mi)
Maximum water depth180 m (590 ft)
Normal elevation183 m (600 ft)
Power Station
Commission date1967–1971
Turbines12×175 MW (235,000 hp) Francis-type
Installed capacity2,100 MW (2,800,000 hp)
Annual generation10,042 GWh (2004)[1]

The Aswan Dam, or more specifically since the 1960s, the Aswan High Dam, is an embankment dam built across the Nile in Aswan, Egypt, between 1960 and 1970. Its significance largely eclipsed the previous Aswan Low Dam initially completed in 1902 downstream. Based on the success of the Low Dam, then at its maximum utilization, construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952; with its ability to better control flooding, provide increased water storage for irrigation and generate hydroelectricity the dam was seen as pivotal to Egypt's planned industrialization. Like the earlier implementation, the High Dam has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt.

Before the High Dam was built, even with the old dam in place, the annual flooding of the Nile during late summer had continued to pass largely unimpeded down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water with natural nutrients and minerals that annually enriched the fertile soil along its floodplain and delta; this predictability had made the Nile valley ideal for farming since ancient times. However, this natural flooding varied, since high-water years could destroy the whole crop, while low-water years could create widespread drought and associated famine. Both these events had continued to occur periodically. As Egypt's population grew and technology increased, both a desire and the ability developed to completely control the flooding, and thus both protect and support farmland and its economically important cotton crop. With the greatly increased reservoir storage provided by the High Aswan Dam, the floods could be controlled and the water could be stored for later release over multiple years.

The Aswan Dam was designed by the Moscow-based Hydroproject Institute.[2]

Construction history

The earliest recorded attempt to build a dam near Aswan was in the 11th century, when the Arab polymath and engineer Ibn al-Haytham (known as Alhazen in the West) was summoned to Egypt by the Fatimid Caliph, Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, to regulate the flooding of the Nile, a task requiring an early attempt at an Aswan Dam.[3] His field work convinced him of the impracticality of this scheme.[4]

Aswan Low Dam, 1898–1902

The British began construction of the first dam across the Nile in 1898. Construction lasted until 1902, and the dam was opened on 10 December 1902. The project was designed by Sir William Willcocks and involved several eminent engineers, including Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Aird, whose firm, John Aird & Co., was the main contractor.[5][6]

Aswan High Dam prelude, 1954–1959

In 1952, the Greek-Egyptian engineer Adrian Daninos began to develop the plan of the new Aswan Dam. Although the Low Dam was almost overtopped in 1946, the government of King Farouk showed no interest in Daninos's plans. Instead the Nile Valley Plan by the British hydrologist Harold Edwin Hurst to store water in Sudan and Ethiopia, where evaporation is much lower, was favored. The Egyptian position changed completely with the overthrow of the monarchy, led by the Free Officers Movement including Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Free Officers were convinced that the Nile Waters had to be stored in Egypt for political reasons, and within two months, the plan of Daninos was accepted.[7] Initially, both the United States and the USSR were interested in helping the development of the dam, but this movement happened in the midst of the Cold War, as well as of growing intra-Arab rivalries.

In 1955, Nasser was trying to portray himself as the leader of Arab nationalism, in opposition to the traditional monarchies, especially the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq following its signing of the 1955 Baghdad Pact. At that time the U.S. feared that communism would spread to the Middle East, and it saw Nasser as a natural leader of an anticommunist procapitalist Arab League. America and Britain offered to help finance construction of the High Dam, with a loan of $270 million, in return for Nasser's leadership in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. While opposed to communism, capitalism, and imperialism, Nasser presented himself as a tactical neutralist, and sought to work with both the U.S. and the USSR for Egyptian and Arab benefit.[8] After a particularly criticized raid by Israel against Egyptian forces in Gaza in 1955, Nasser realized that he could not legitimately portray himself as the leader of pan-Arab nationalism if he could not defend his country militarily against Israel. In addition to his development plans, he looked to quickly modernize his military, and he turned first to the U.S.

Egyptian President Nasser and Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev at the ceremony to divert the Nile during the construction of the Aswan High Dam on 14 May 1964. At this occasion Khrushchev called it "the eighth wonder of the world".

The American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and the American President Dwight Eisenhower told Nasser that the U.S. would supply him with weapons only if they were used for defensive purposes and accompanied by American military personnel for supervision and training. Nasser did not accept these conditions, but then he looked to the USSR for support. Although Dulles believed that Nasser was only bluffing and that the USSR would not aid Nasser, he was wrong— the USSR promised Nasser a quantity of arms in exchange for a deferred payment of Egyptian grain and cotton. On 27 September 1955, Nasser announced an arms deal, with Czechoslovakia acting as a middleman for the Soviet support.[9] Instead of attacking Nasser for turning to the Soviets, Dulles sought to improve relations with him. This explains the later offer of December 1955, in which the U.S. and Britain pledged $56 and $14 million respectively towards the construction of the dam.[10]

Gamal Abdel Nasser observing the construction of the dam, 1963

Though the Czech arms deal actually increased the American willingness to invest at Aswan, Great Britain cited the deal as a reason for reversing its promise of funds. What angered Dulles much more was Nasser's diplomatic recognition of China, which was in direct conflict with Dulles's policy of containment.[11] There are several other reasons why the U.S. decided to withdraw its offer of funding. Dulles believed that the USSR would not fulfill its commitment to help the Egyptians. He was also irritated by Nasser's neutrality and attempts to play both sides of the Cold War. At the time, other western allies in the Middle East, including Turkey and Iraq, were irritated and jealous that Egypt, a persistently neutral country, was being offered so much aid.[12]

In June 1956, the Soviets offered Nasser $1.12 billion at 2% interest for the construction of the dam. On 19 July the U.S. State Department announced that American financial assistance for the High Dam was "not feasible in present circumstances."[10]

On 26 July 1956, with wide Egyptian acclaim, Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal as well as fair compensation for the former owners. Nasser planned on the revenues generated by the canal helping to fund construction of the High Dam. When the Suez War broke out, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel seized the canal and the Sinai, but pressure from the U.S. and the USSR at the United Nations and elsewhere forced them to withdraw.

In 1958, the USSR went ahead in providing support for the High Dam project.

A view from the vantage point in the middle of High Dam towards the monument of Arab-Soviet Friendship (Lotus Flower) by architects Piotr Pavlov, Juri Omeltchenko and sculptor Nikolay Vechkanov

In the 1950s, archaeologists began raising concerns that several major historical sites, including the famous temple of Abu Simbel were about to be under water. A rescue operation began in 1960 under UNESCO (for details see below under Effects).

Construction and filling, 1960–1976

A central pylon of the monument to Arab-Soviet Friendship. The memorial commemorates the completion of the Aswan High Dam. The coat of arms of the Soviet Union is on the left and the coat of arms of Egypt is on the right.

The Soviets also provided technicians and heavy machinery. The enormous rock and clay dam was designed by the Soviet Hydroproject Institute along with some Egyptian engineers. 25,000 Egyptian engineers and workers contributed to the construction of the dams.

On the Egyptian side, the project was led by Osman Ahmed Osman's Arab Contractors. The relatively young Osman underbid his only competitor by one-half.[13]

  • 1960: Start of construction on 9 January[14]
  • 1964: First dam construction stage completed, reservoir started filling
  • 1970: The High Dam, as-Sad al-'Aali, completed on 21 July[15]
  • 1976: Reservoir reached capacity.

Specifications

The Aswan High Dam is 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) long, 980 m (3,220 ft) wide at the base, 40 m (130 ft) wide at the crest and 111 m (364 ft) tall. It contains 43,000,000 cubic metres (56,000,000 cu yd) of material. At maximum, 11,000 cubic metres per second (390,000 cu ft/s) of water can pass through the dam. There are further emergency spillways for an extra 5,000 cubic metres per second (180,000 cu ft/s), and the Toshka Canal links the reservoir to the Toshka Depression. The reservoir, named Lake Nasser, is 550 km (340 mi) long and 35 km (22 mi) at its widest, with a surface area of 5,250 square kilometres (2,030 sq mi). It holds 132 cubic kilometres (1.73×1011 cu yd) of water.

A panorama of the Aswan Dam

Irrigation scheme

Green irrigated land along the Nile amidst the desert
Water balances
Main irrigation systems (schematically)

Due to the absence of appreciable rainfall, Egypt's agriculture depends entirely on irrigation. With irrigation, two crops per year can be produced, except for sugar cane which has a growing period of almost one year.

The high dam at Aswan releases, on average, 55 cubic kilometres (45,000,000 acre⋅ft) water per year, of which some 46 cubic kilometres (37,000,000 acre⋅ft) are diverted into the irrigation canals.

In the Nile valley and delta, almost 336,000 square kilometres (130,000 sq mi) benefit from these waters producing on average 1.8 crops per year. The annual crop consumptive use of water is about 38 cubic kilometres (31,000,000 acre⋅ft). Hence, the overall irrigation efficiency is 38/46 = 0.82 or 82%. This is a relatively-high irrigation efficiency. The field irrigation efficiencies are much less, but the losses are reused downstream. This continuous reuse accounts for the high overall efficiency.

The following table shows that the equal distribution of irrigation water over the branch canals taking off from the one main irrigation canal, the Mansuriya Canal near Giza, leaves much to be desired:[16]

Branch canal Water delivery in m3/feddan *
Kafret Nasser 4,700
Beni Magdul 3,500
El Mansuria 3,300
El Hammami upstream 2,800
El Hammami downstream 1,800
El Shimi 1,200
* Period 1 March to 31 July. 1 feddan is 0.42 ha or about 1 acre.
* Data from the Egyptian Water Use Management Project (EWUP)[17]

The salt concentration of the water in the Aswan reservoir is about 0.25 kilograms per cubic metre (0.42 lb/cu yd), a very low salinity level. At an annual inflow of 55 cubic kilometres (45,000,000 acre⋅ft), the annual salt influx reaches 14 million tons. The average salt concentration of the drainage water evacuated into the sea and the coastal lakes is 2.7 kilograms per cubic metre (4.6 lb/cu yd).[18] At an annual discharge of 10 cubic kilometres (2.4 cu mi) (not counting the 2 kilograms per cubic metre [3.4 lb/cu yd] of salt intrusion from the sea and the lakes, see figure "Water balances"), the annual salt export reaches 27 million ton. In 1995, the output of salt was higher than the influx, and Egypt's agricultural lands were desalinizing. Part of this could be due to the large number of subsurface drainage projects executed in the last decades to control the water table and soil salinity.[19]

Drainage through subsurface drains and drainage channels is essential to prevent a deterioration of crop yields from waterlogging and soil salinization caused by irrigation. By 2003, more than 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi) have been equipped with a subsurface drainage system and approximately 7.2 square kilometres (2.8 sq mi) of water is drained annually from areas with these systems. The total investment cost in agricultural drainage over 27 years from 1973 to 2002 was about $3.1 billion covering the cost of design, construction, maintenance, research and training. During this period 11 large-scale projects were implemented with financial support from World Bank and other donors.[20]

Effects

The High Dam has resulted in protection from floods and droughts, an increase in agricultural production and employment, electricity production, and improved navigation that also benefits tourism. Conversely, the dam flooded a large area, causing the relocation of over 100,000 people. Many archaeological sites were submerged while others were relocated. The dam is blamed for coastline erosion, soil salinity, and health problems.

The assessment of the costs and benefits of the dam remains controversial decades after its completion. According to one estimate, the annual economic benefit of the High Dam immediately after its completion was 255 million, $587 million using the exchange rate in 1970 of $2.30 per E£1): £140 million from agricultural production, £100 million from hydroelectric generation, £10 million from flood protection, and £5 million from improved navigation. At the time of its construction, total cost, including unspecified "subsidiary projects" and the extension of electric power lines, amounted to £450 million. Not taking into account the negative environmental and social effects of the dam, its costs are thus estimated to have been recovered within only two years.[21] One observer notes: "The impacts of the Aswan High Dam (...) have been overwhelmingly positive. Although the Dam has contributed to some environmental problems, these have proved to be significantly less severe than was generally expected, or currently believed by many people."[22] Another observer disagreed and he recommended that the dam should be torn down. Tearing it down would cost only a fraction of the funds required for "continually combating the dam's consequential damage" and 500,000 hectares of fertile land could be reclaimed from the layers of mud on the bed of the drained reservoir.[23]

Periodic floods and droughts have affected Egypt since ancient times. The dam mitigated the effects of floods, such as those in 1964, 1973, and 1988. Navigation along the river has been improved, both upstream and downstream of the dam. Sailing along the Nile is a favorite tourism activity, which is mainly done during the winter when the natural flow of the Nile would have been too low to allow navigation of cruise ships.[clarification needed] A new fishing industry has been created around Lake Nasser, though it is struggling due to its distance from any significant markets. The annual production was about 35 000 tons in the mid-1990s. Factories for the fishing industry and packaging have been set up near the Lake.[24]

Drought protection, agricultural production and employment

The Egyptian countryside benefited from the Aswan High Dam through improved irrigation as well as electrification, as shown here in Al Bayadiyah, south of Luxor.

The dams also protected Egypt from the droughts in 1972–73 and 1983–87 that devastated East and West Africa. The High Dam allowed Egypt to reclaim about 2.0 million feddan (840,000 hectares) in the Nile Delta and along the Nile Valley, increasing the country's irrigated area by a third. The increase was brought about both by irrigating what used to be desert and by bringing under cultivation of 385,000 ha that were previously used as flood retention basins.[25] About half a million families were settled on these new lands. In particular the area under rice and sugar cane cultivation increased. In addition, about 1 million feddan (420,000 hectares), mostly in Upper Egypt, were converted from flood irrigation with only one crop per year to perennial irrigation allowing two or more crops per year. On other previously irrigated land, yields increased because water could be made available at critical low-flow periods. For example, wheat yields in Egypt tripled between 1952 and 1991 and better availability of water contributed to this increase. Most of the 32 km3 of freshwater, or almost 40 percent of the average flow of the Nile that were previously lost to the sea every year could be put to beneficial use. While about 10 km3 of the water saved is lost due to evaporation in Lake Nasser, the amount of water available for irrigation still increased by 22 km3.[24] Other estimates put evaporation from Lake Nasser at between 10 and 16 cubic km per year.[26]

Electricity production

Power plant of the Aswan High Dam, with the dam itself in the background.

The dam powers twelve generators each rated at 175 megawatts (235,000 hp), with a total of 2.1 gigawatts (2,800,000 hp). Power generation began in 1967. When the High Dam first reached peak output it produced around half of Egypt's production of electric power (about 15 percent by 1998), and it gave most Egyptian villages the use of electricity for the first time. The High Dam has also improved the efficiency and the extension of the Old Aswan Hydropower stations by regulating upstream flows.[24]

Resettlement

A picture of the old Wadi Halfa town that was flooded by Lake Nasser.

Lake Nasser flooded much of lower Nubia and 100,000 to 120,000 people were resettled in Sudan and Egypt.[27]

View of New Wadi Halfa, a settlement created on the shore of Lake Nasser to house part of the resettled population from the Old Wadi Halfa town.

In Sudan, 50,000 to 70,000 Sudanese Nubians were moved from the old town of Wadi Halfa and its surrounding villages. Some were moved to a newly created settlement on the shore of Lake Nasser called New Wadi Halfa, and some were resettled approximately 700 kilometres south to the semi-arid Butana plain near the town of Khashm el-Girba up the Atbara River. The climate there had a regular rainy season as opposed to their previous desert habitat in which virtually no rain fell. The government developed an irrigation project, called the New Halfa Agricultural Development Scheme to grow cotton, grains, sugar cane and other crops. The Nubians were resettled in twenty five planned villages that included schools, medical facilities, and other services, including piped water and some electrification.

In Egypt, the majority of the 50,000 Nubians were moved three to ten kilometers from the Nile near Kom Ombo, 45 kilometers downstream from Aswan in what was called "New Nubia". Housing and facilities were built for 47 village units whose relationship to each other approximated that in Old Nubia. Irrigated land was provided to grow mainly sugar cane.[28][29]

Archaeological sites

The statue of Ramses the Great at the Great Temple of Abu Simbel is reassembled after having been moved in 1967 to save it from being flooded.

22 monuments and architectural complexes that were threatened by flooding from Lake Nasser, including the Abu Simbel temples, were preserved by moving them to the shores of the lake under the UNESCO Nubia Campaign.[30] Also moved were Philae, Kalabsha and Amada.[24]

These monuments were granted to countries that helped with the works:

These items were removed to the garden area of the Sudan National Museum of Khartoum:[31]

The Temple of Ptah at Gerf Hussein had its free-standing section reconstructed at New Kalabsha, alongside the Temple of Kalabsha, Beit el-Wali, and the Kiosk of Qertassi.

The remaining archaeological sites, including the Buhen fort or the cemetery of Fadrus have been flooded by Lake Nasser.

Loss of sediments

Lake Nasser behind the Aswan dam displaced more than 100,000 people and traps significant amounts of sediment.

Before the construction of the High Dam, the Nile deposited sediments of various particle size – consisting of fine sand, silt and clay – on fields in Upper Egypt through its annual flood, contributing to soil fertility. However, the nutrient value of the sediment has often been overestimated. 88 percent of the sediment was carried to the sea before the construction of the High Dam. The nutrient value added to the land by the sediment was only 6,000 tons of potash, 7,000 tons of phosphorus pentoxide and 17,000 tons of nitrogen. These amounts are insignificant compared to what is needed to reach the yields achieved today in Egypt's irrigation.[32] Also, the annual spread of sediment due to the Nile floods occurred along the banks of the Nile. Areas far from the river which never received the Nile floods before are now being irrigated.[33]

A more serious issue of trapping of sediment by the dam is that it has increased coastline erosion surrounding the Nile Delta. The coastline erodes an estimated 125–175 m (410–574 ft) per year.[34]

Waterlogging and increase in soil salinity

Before the construction of the High Dam, groundwater levels in the Nile Valley fluctuated 8–9 m per year with the water level of the Nile. During summer when evaporation was highest, the groundwater level was too deep to allow salts dissolved in the water to be pulled to the surface through capillary action. With the disappearance of the annual flood and heavy year-round irrigation, groundwater levels remained high with little fluctuation leading to waterlogging. Soil salinity also increased because the distance between the surface and the groundwater table was small enough (1–2 m depending on soil conditions and temperature) to allow water to be pulled up by evaporation so that the relatively small concentrations of salt in the groundwater accumulated on the soil surface over the years. Since most of the farmland did not have proper subsurface drainage to lower the groundwater table, salinization gradually affected crop yields.[25] Drainage through sub-surface drains and drainage channels is essential to prevent a deterioration of crop yields from soil salinization and waterlogging. By 2003, more than 2.0 million have been equipped with a subsurface drainage system at a cost from 1973 to 2002 of about $3.1 billion.[35]

Health

Skin vesicles: a symptom of schistosomiasis. A more common symptom is blood in the urine.

Contrary to many predictions made prior to the Aswan High Dam construction and publications that followed, that the prevalence of schistosomiasis (bilharzia) would increase, it did not.[36] This assumption did not take into account the extent of perennial irrigation that was already present throughout Egypt decades before the high dam closure. By the 1950s only a small proportion of Upper Egypt had not been converted from basin (low transmission) to perennial (high transmission) irrigation. Expansion of perennial irrigation systems in Egypt did not depend on the high dam. In fact, within 15 years of the high dam closure there was solid evidence that biharzia was declining in Upper Egypt. S. haematobium has since disappeared altogether.[37] Suggested reasons for this include improvements in irrigation practice. In the Nile Delta, schistosomaisis had been highly endemic, with prevalence in the villages 50% or higher for almost a century before. This was a consequence of the conversion of the Delta to perennial irrigation to grow long staple cotton by the British. This has changed. Large scale treatment programmes in the 1990s using single dose oral medication contributed greatly to reducing the prevalence and severity of S. mansoni in the Delta.

Other effects

Sediment deposited in the reservoir is lowering the water storage capacity of Lake Nasser. The reservoir storage capacity is 162 km3, including 31 km3 dead storage at the bottom of the lake below 147 m above sea level, 90 km3 live storage, and 41 km3 of storage for high flood waters above 175m above sea level. The annual sediment load of the Nile is about 134 million tons. This means that the dead storage volume would be filled up after 300–500 years if the sediment accumulated at the same rate throughout the area of the lake. Obviously sediment accumulates much faster at the upper reaches of the lake, where sedimentation has already affected the live storage zone.[32]

Before the construction of the High Dam, the 50,000 km of irrigation and drainage canals in Egypt had to be dredged regularly to remove sediments. After construction of the dam, aquatic weeds grew much faster in the clearer water, helped by fertilizer residues. The total length of the infested waterways was about 27,000 km in the mid-1990s. Weeds have been gradually brought under control by manual, mechanical and biological methods.[24]

The catch of sardines in the Mediterranean off the Egyptian coast declined after the Aswan Dam was completed, but the exact reasons for the decline are still disputed.

Mediterranean fishing and brackish water lake fishery declined after the dam was finished because nutrients that flowed down the Nile to the Mediterranean were trapped behind the dam. For example, the sardine catch off the Egyptian coast declined from 18,000 tons in 1962 to a mere 460 tons in 1968, but then gradually recovered to 8,590 tons in 1992. A scientific article in the mid-1990s noted that "the mismatch between low primary productivity and relatively high levels of fish production in the region still presents a puzzle to scientists."[38]

A concern before the construction of the High Dam had been the potential drop in river-bed level downstream of the Dam as the result of erosion caused by the flow of sediment-free water. Estimates by various national and international experts put this drop at between 2 and 10 meters. However, the actual drop has been measured at 0.3–0.7 meters, much less than expected.[24]

The red-brick construction industry, which consisted of hundreds of factories that used Nile sediment deposits along the river, has also been negatively affected. Deprived of sediment, they started using the older alluvium of otherwise arable land taking out of production up to 120 square kilometers annually, with an estimated 1,000 square kilometers destroyed by 1984 when the government prohibited, "with only modest success," further excavation.[39] According to one source, bricks are now being made from new techniques which use a sand-clay mixture and it has been argued that the mud-based brick industry would have suffered even if the dam had not been built.[33]

Because of the lower turbidity of the water sunlight penetrates deeper in the Nile water. Because of this and the increased presence of nutrients from fertilizers in the water, more algae grow in the Nile. This in turn increases the costs of drinking water treatment. Apparently few experts had expected that water quality in the Nile would actually decrease because of the High Dam.[25]

See also

References

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  35. ^ Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, Egyptian Public Authority for Drainage Projects, Drainage Research Institute, 2006: The National Drainage and Drainage Water Reuse Programs, Egypt, Local Actions at the 4th World Water Forum, March 2, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  36. ^ Miller. F. DeWolfe et al. Schistosomiasis in Rural Egypt. 1978. United States Environment Protection Agency. EPA – 600/1-78-070.
  37. ^ Baraket, R. Epidemiology of Schistosomiasis in Egypt: Travel through Time: Review. Journal of Advanced Research (2013) 4, 425–432
  38. ^ El-Sayed, Sayed; van Dijken, Gert L. (1995), The southeastern Mediterranean ecosystem revisited: Thirty years after the construction of the Aswan High Dam, archived from the original on 2011-01-04, retrieved 2011-01-02
  39. ^ Scudder, Thayer (2003), The Aswan High Dam Case (PDF), p. 11, archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-06-05, retrieved 2011-01-02

External links

21 December 1970

First flight of F-14 Tomcat.

The F-14 Tomcat first flew on December 21, 1970 and entered service in September 1974. The Tomcat was a multi-role aircraft designed to be an air superiority fighter as well as a high speed interceptor to defend the carrier battle group from potential threats. In addition to carrying a wide variety of missiles the F-14 was also equipped with an internal 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon to make it a more capable air combat fighter than the F-4 which did not have an internal gun.

The F-14 was a large aircraft having a wingspan of 64 feet with the wings unswept and a maximum weight in excess of 74,000 pounds. Powered by two GE F-110-GE-400 engines that created 56,000 pounds of thrust it had a ceiling of over 50,000 feet and a range of around 2000 miles.

One of the more interesting aspects of the Tomcat was its ability to carry the radar-guided AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile. The AIM-54 Phoenix missile system allowed the F-14 pilot to engage multiple targets at the same time. Carrying up to six AIM-54 missiles the Tomcats radar system could track 24 simultaneous targets up to 100 nautical miles. The F-14 was the first fighter aircraft to have this type of capability and the Tomcat was the only operation platform for the Phoenix.

Each Phoenix missile weighed 1000 pounds. 13 feet long and 15 inches wide the AIM-54 carried a 135 pound high explosive warhead. While the missile worked in testing the only reported combat events ended up in failure. In 1999 three Phoenix missiles were fired from F-14s at Iraqi Mig fighters with all three failing to hit the target.

On a more positive note, on January 4, 1989 while operating about 100 miles off the shores of Libya in the Gulf of Sidra the F-14 scored two Mig kills. The US carrier battle group had launched a group of A-6 Intruders with two F-14s as escort. Libya launched four Mig 23 aircraft apparently to intercept the Tomcats.

The two F-14s initially turned towards the Migs but on several occasions turned away to indicate they were not threatening them. After it became clear the Migs were not going to turn away, at a range of between 7-15 miles one of the F-14s launched two AIM-7M Sparrow radar guided missiles. Both missiles missed the Migs.

The two Migs continued their high speed approach. With about six miles between the opposing aircraft the two F-14s split apart and proceeded to take separate missile shots downing both Mig aircraft. The F-14s then returned to their ship. Reports are the two Libyan pilots were seen ejecting from their damaged aircraft.

The only foreign country to purchase the Tomcat was surprisingly Iran during the Shah years. In 1974 Iran picked the F-14 over the F-15 and purchased 80 aircraft and over 400 Phoenix missiles. The Iranian F-14s have reportedly been seen flying combat escort missions on Russian bombers in Syria in 2015.

The F-14 was retired from US Navy service in 2006. There were over 700 aircraft produced.

31 July 1970

The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy (Black Tot Day).

Black Tot Day 31 July 1970 is the name given to the last day on which the Royal Navy issued sailors with a daily rum ration the daily tot.

In the 17th century, the daily drink ration for English sailors was a gallon of beer. Due to the difficulty in storing the large quantities of liquid that this required, in 1655 a half pint of rum was made equivalent and became preferred to beer. Over time, drunkenness on board naval vessels increasingly became a problem and the ration was formalised in naval regulations by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1740 and ordered to be mixed with water in a 4:1 water to rum ratio and split into two servings per day.

In the 19th century, there was a change in the attitude towards alcohol due to continued discipline problems in the navy. In 1824 the size of the tot was halved to a quarter pint in an effort to improve the situation. In 1850, the Admiralty’s Grog Committee, convened to look into the issues surrounding the rum ration, recommended that it be eliminated completely. However, rather than ending it the navy further halved it to an eighth of a pint per day, eliminating the evening serving of the ration. This led to the ending of the ration for officers in 1881 and warrant officers in 1918.

On 17 December 1969 the Admiralty Board issued a written answer to a question from the MP for Woolwich East, Christopher Mayhew, saying “The Admiralty Board concludes that the rum issue is no longer compatible with the high standards of efficiency required now that the individual’s tasks in ships are concerned with complex, and often delicate, machinery and systems on the correct functioning of which people’s lives may depend”. This led to a debate in the House of Commons on the evening of 28 January 1970, now referred to as the ‘Great Rum Debate’, started by James Wellbeloved, MP for Erith and Crayford, who believed that the ration should not be removed. The debate lasted an hour and 15 minutes and closed at 10:29pm with a decision that the rum ration was no longer appropriate.

31 July 1970 was the final day of the rum ration and it was poured as usual at 6 bells in the forenoon watch 11am after the pipe of ‘up spirits’. Some sailors wore black armbands, tots were ‘buried at sea’ and in one navy training camp, HMS Collingwood, the Royal Naval Electrical College at Fareham in Hampshire, there was a mock funeral procession complete with black coffin and accompanying drummers and piper. The move was not popular with the ratings despite an extra can of beer being added to the daily rations in compensation.

A special stamp was issued, available from Portsmouth General Post Office, with the slogan “Last Issue of Rum to the Royal Navy 31 July 1970”.

Black Tot Day was subsequently followed in two other Commonwealth navies the Royal Australian Navy having already discontinued the rum ration, in 1921: 31 March 1972 was the final day of the rum ration in the Royal Canadian Navy; and 28 February 1990 was the final day of the rum ration in the Royal New Zealand Navy.

11 April 1970

Apollo 13 is launched.

Apollo 13, NASA’s third crewed mission to the moon, launched on April 11, 1970. Two days later, on April 13, while the mission was en route to the moon, a fault in the electrical system of one of the Service Module’s oxygen tanks produced an explosion that caused both oxygen tanks to fail and also led to a loss of electrical power. The Command Module remained functional on its own batteries and oxygen tank, but these were usable only during the last hours of the mission. The crew shut down the Command Module and used the Lunar Module as a “lifeboat” during the return trip to Earth. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, and a shortage of potable water, the crew returned to Earth, and the mission was termed a “successful failure.”

This photograph of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at the Manned Spacecraft Center now Johnson Space Center, Houston, was taken on April 13, 1970, during the fourth television transmission from the Apollo 13 mission. Eugene F. Kranz foreground, back to camera, one of four Apollo 13 flight directors, views the large screen at front as astronaut Fred W. Haise Jr., Lunar Module pilot, is seen on the screen.

10 April 1970

Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles.

The legendary rock band the Beatles spent the better part of three years breaking up in the late 1960s, and even longer than that hashing out who did what and why. And by the spring of 1970, there was little more than a tangled set of business relationships keeping the group together. Each of the Beatles was pursuing his musical interests outside of the band, and there were no plans in place to record together as a group. But as far as the public knew, this was just a temporary state of affairs. That all changed on April 10, 1970, when an ambiguous Paul McCartney “self-interview” was seized upon by the international media as an official announcement of a Beatles breakup.

The occasion for the statements Paul released to the press that day was the upcoming release of his debut solo album, McCartney.Nothing in Paul’s answers constituted a definitive statement about the Beatles’ future, but his remarks were nevertheless reported in the press under headlines like “McCartney Breaks Off With Beatles” and “The Beatles sing their swan song.” And whatever his intent at the time, Paul’s statements drove a further wedge between himself and his bandmates. In the May 14, 1970, issue of Rolling Stone, John Lennon lashed out at Paul in a way he’d never done publicly: “He can’t have his own way, so he’s causing chaos,” John said. “I put out four albums last year, and I didn’t say a word about quitting.”

By year’s end, Paul would file suit to dissolve the Beatles’ business partnership, a formal process that would eventually make official the unofficial breakup he announced on this day in 1970.

22 January 1970

The world’s first “jumbo jet”, The Boeing 747, enters commercial service.

Thanks to its distinctive hump, Boeing’s 747 “jumbo jet” is the world’s most recognised aircraft. Since its first flight, on 22nd January 1970, it has carried the equivalent of 80% of the world’s population.

In the 1960s air travel was booming. Thanks to falling ticket prices, more people than ever were able to take to the skies. Boeing set about creating the largest commercial aeroplane yet, to take advantage of the growing market.

Around the same time, Boeing won a government contract to build the first supersonic transport plane. Had it come to fruition, the Boeing 2707 would have travelled at three times the speed of sound, carrying 300 passengers.

This new and exciting project was a major headache for the 747. Joseph Stutter, chief engineer on the 747, struggled to maintain funding and support for his 4,500-strong team.

The supersonic project was eventually scrapped but not before it exerted a significant impact on the design of the 747. At the time, Pan Am was one of Boeing’s best clients and the airline’s founder, Juan Trippe, had a great deal of influence. He was convinced that supersonic passenger transport was the future and that aircraft like the 747 would eventually be used as freighters. As a result, the designers mounted the flight deck on top of the passenger deck in order to allow for a hinged nose for loading cargo. Increasing the width of the fuselage also made loading freight easier and, in a passenger configuration, made the cabin more comfortable. Initial designs for the upper deck produced too much drag, so the shape was extended and refined into a teardrop shape.

But what to do with this added space? Trippe persuaded Boeing to use the space behind the cockpit as a bar and lounge. He was inspired by the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser of the 1940s that featured a lower deck lounge. However most airlines later converted the space back into extra seating.

12 January 1970

The Nigerian Civil War ends as Biafra capitulates.

On this day in 1970, Biafra capitulates ending the civil war. The Civil war in Nigeria lasted for three years between 6 July 1967 – 12 January 1970

Also on this day in 2006, Governor Rasidi Ladoja of Oyo state was impeached on allegations of corruption. His impeachment was later reversed by the courts.

The Nigerian Civil War, commonly known as the Biafran War, was a war fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra. Biafra represented nationalist aspirations of the Igbo people, whose leadership felt they could no longer coexist with the Northern-dominated federal government. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions which preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. Immediate causes of the war in 1966 included a military coup, a counter-coup and persecution of Igbo living in Northern Nigeria. Control over the lucrative oil production in the Niger Delta played a vital strategic role.

Within a year, the Federal Military Government surrounded Biafra, capturing coastal oil facilities and the city of Port Harcourt. The blockade imposed during the ensuing stalemate led to severe famine. During the two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died from starvation.

In mid-1968, images of malnourished and starving Biafran children saturated the mass media of Western countries. The plight of the starving Biafrans became a cause célèbre in foreign countries, enabling a significant rise in the funding and prominence of international non-governmental organisations. Britain and the Soviet Union were the main supporters of the Nigerian government in Lagos, while France, Israel and some other countries supported Biafra. France and Israel provided weapons to both combatants.

4 September 1970

Salvador Allende is elected as the President of Chile.

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Salvador Allende ran for the presidency for the first time in 1952 but was temporarily expelled from the Socialist Party for accepting the support of the outlawed Communists; he placed last in a four-man race. He ran again in 1958—with Socialist backing, as well as the support of the then-legal Communists—and was a close second to the Conservative-Liberal candidate, Jorge Alessandri. Again with the same support he was decisively defeated (1964) by the Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei. For his successful 1970 campaign Allende ran as the candidate of Popular Unity, a bloc of Socialists, Communists, Radicals, and some dissident Christian Democrats, leading in a three-sided race with 36.3 percent of the vote. Because he lacked a popular majority, however, his election had to be confirmed by Congress, in which there was strong opposition from the right. Nevertheless, it was confirmed on October 24, 1970, after he had guaranteed support to 10 libertarian constitutional amendments demanded by the Christian Democrats.

Inaugurated on November 3, 1970, Allende began to restructure Chilean society along socialist lines while retaining the democratic form of government and respecting civil liberties and the due process of law. He expropriated the U.S.-owned copper companies in Chile without compensation, an act which set him seriously at odds with the U.S. government and weakened foreign investors’ confidence in his government. His government also took steps to purchase several important privately owned mining and manufacturing sectors and to take over large agricultural estates for use by peasant cooperatives. In an attempt to redistribute incomes, he authorized large wage increases and froze prices. Allende also printed large amounts of unsupported currency to erase the fiscal deficit created by the government’s purchase of basic industries. By 1972 Chile was suffering from stagnant production, decreased exports and private-sector investment, exhausted financial reserves, widespread strikes, rising inflation, food shortages, and domestic unrest. International lines of credit from the United States and western Europe had completely dried up. Allende’s inability to control his own radical left-wing supporters further incurred the hostility of the middle class. In foreign affairs, he established relations with China and Cuba.

11 April 1970

Apollo 13 launches.

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The Apollo 13 mission was launched at 2:13 p.m. EST, April 11, 1970 from launch complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 13 Launch The space vehicle crew consisted of James A. Lovell, Jr. commander, John L. Swigert, Jr., command module pilot and Fred W. Haise, Jr. lunar module pilot.

The Apollo 13 Mission was planned as a lunar landing mission but was aborted en route to the moon after about 56 hours of flight due to loss of service module cryogenic oxygen and consequent loss of capability to generate electrical power, to provide oxygen and to produce water.

Spacecraft systems performance was nominal until the fans in cryogenic oxygen tank 2 were turned on at 55:53:18 ground elapsed time. About 2 seconds after energizing the fan circuit, a short was indicated in the current from fuel cell 3, which was supplying power to cryogenic oxygen tank 2 fans. Within several additional seconds, two other shorted conditions occurred.

Electrical shorts in the fan circuit ignited the wire insulation, causing temperature and pressure to increase within cryogenic oxygen tank 2. When pressure reached the cryogenic oxygen tank 2 relief valve full-flow conditions of 1008 psi, the pressure began decreasing for about 9 seconds, at which time the relief valve probably reseated, causing the pressure to rise again momentarily. About a quarter of a second later, a vibration disturbance was noted on the command module accelerometers

6 April 1970

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Four California Highway Patrol officers are killed in a shootout in Newhall, Los Angeles.

In April 06, 1970, four California Highway Patrol Officers were murdered in a tragedy that became known across the nation as “The Newhall Incident.” These murders served as a wakeup call for law enforcement training nationwide. In fact, many of the tactics that officers still use today originated from this terrible event.

However, I recently learned that one of the most notorious “facts” about this incident is not true. As one of the countless officers and instructors who accepted and repeated this myth, I would like to do what I can to help set the record straight. For those of you who are not already aware, the Newhall Incident occurred about 15 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. At around midnight, two California Highway Patrol Officers conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle wanted in a firearms brandishing incident. As these officers began to remove the suspects from the vehicle they were ambushed and murdered by the occupants. Their cover unit arrived just moments after the ambush however these officers were also murdered in an intense gun battle.

The Newhall Incident is the single pivotal moment in law enforcement training that started the ball rolling toward the modern research and practices that became survival training. The investigation and willingness to examine why things happened helped tens of thousands of cops win. The truth of the matter is that is Officer Pence is a hero and a martyr for law enforcement, and to tell the truth to make us better as a profession has NEVER denigrated his sacrifice. In fact, to tell the Newhall story is to add greater meaning to the sacrifice of all four Newhall officers, and this week especially they should be remembered. Whether Pence had brass in his pocket or not — and we’re reviewing alternative sources related to the incident since it is such an important and widely-used incident for ongoing training — the Pence story is equally valid. Do not allow yourself to accumulate scars in training which could adversely affect your ability to win in real world.