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Notes on the Geography of Egypt: Tanda: Photo 2

world pictures Egypt: Tanda

Since 1952, Egypt's irrigated cropland has increased by about a third to almost 8 million acres--about 1,200 square miles. The "New Lands," as they are known, flank the margins of the 5 million acres of "Old Lands," about half of which were actually reclaimed during the 19th century. In other words, the irrigated area of Egypt is about triple what it was in 1800. Then, irrigation was a matter of the summer flood, whose waters were directed into settling basins for a month of so before being passed to a lower basin. During the 19th century, the flood regime was replaced by perennial irrigation with water brought by canals. The canals were deliberately laid out slightly below ground level, which forced farmers to raise the water. It imposed a huge workload, but also gave farmers plenty of reason not to waste water or take more than they needed.

Here, near Tanda, a farmer cranks an Archimedean screw, a cylinder with a screw inside it. It's an ancient device, described by Diodorus Siculus in the 1st century B.C. In those days, it was made of wood.

All the photos in this group were taken about 1986, and the captions describe conditions at that time.

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