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BOAT ON THE NILE, Egypt
The Nile, the world’s longest river, runs from south to north through Sudan and Egypt for 4,140 miles (6,671 km). It is a communication route that carries both luxury floating hotels for tourists and modest craft bearing mostly forage and grain. Above all, the Nile is the main water resource for Egypt, providing 90 percent of the water consumed by the country. Although at one time the Nile’s annual flood assured available water for only three to four months, the erection of the Aswan Dam in the 1960s made it possible to regulate the river’s rate of flow and thus provide the country with water throughout the year by retaining a volume of water that is double the average annual flow of the Nile. However, the dam has caused ecological problems by depriving the river of the silt that fertilized the ground and offset marine erosion of the delta. Today the delta is receding at a rate of 100 to 650 feet (30 to 200 m) per year.