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New Valley Project
Other designation: Toshka Project

Irrigation plants in the New Valley, Egypt (Satellite photo NASA)

In Egypt, project inaugurated in 1997 to create a new river valley to the west of the Nile and Lake Nasser, allowing extensive agriculture in a region now dominated by desert and a few oases. The project is as of January 2006 not yet completed.
The background for the project is a combination of the overpopulation of Egypt, what appears to have been an accidental creation of new lakes in the desert to the east of Lake Nasser in the 1990's, and the problematic failure of 1960's agriculture and industrial projects of the Kharga and Paris Oases. These older project had intended to use underwater reservoirs believed to be extensive but proving to be far more limited.
Water is since March 2005 pumped from Lake Nasser by the Mubarak Pumping Station, said to be largest of its kind in the world. The water runs through the Toshka Valley, by the new Toshka Lakes, before intending to end up with the Paris Oasis by a canal. The whole stretch is about 310 km. Along the whole stretch, agricultural communities will be established where ever possible.
The water is projected to irrigate a land of about 2,300 km², which today is only desert. The government hopes to allow up to 3 million inhabitants in the area.
Experimental farms have shown that the soil is potentially fertile. Crops like cotton, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, bananas, grapes and wheat have all been successfully cultivated here.

By Tore Kjeilen