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Egypt - Expo Liege 1939

Missing picture

In the International Palace No. 22 located to the left of the main entrance to Bressoux, on the right bank of the Meuse, a surface area of 200 m2 was reserved for the official participation of Egypt. It consisted of a set of paintings and models relating to the development of the Nile with a view to irrigating farmland.

Egypt is a gift of the Nile, said the ancients.

Indeed, the country appears as a wide valley in the middle of which flows the Nile, which fertilises it by its regular floods, after having formed it by its alluvium. It has thus created a vast oasis, more than 1,000 kilometres long and only 15 kilometres wide on average. Rainfall is so scarce in Egypt that agriculture is entirely dependent on water from the river.

In the past, only the basin irrigation system was used. The land under this system yielded only one crop per year. This is still the case today in some areas of Upper Egypt where perennial irrigation, which is becoming increasingly widespread, is not yet practiced.

The application of the perennial irrigation system required the construction of a series of works designed to regulate the flow of the river. It currently covers more than 18,000 square kilometres, or about 87% of the cultivated land, and ensures intensive exploitation, especially for cotton cultivation.

It was only natural that the Egyptian participation in the 1939 Liege Exhibition should be devoted exclusively to the work undertaken on the Nile, with a view to developing the waters for agriculture.

A remarkable piece of the stand was the large-scale model of the Aswan Dam, built in 1902. The ingenious arrangement of the various elements of the model made it possible to see the modifications made to the structure in 1912 and 1933, in order to increase its capacity. The capacity was thus increased to 5,500 million cubic metres.

The irrigation works in Lower Egypt were evoked by another large model of the Delta Dam. This already old work - it was completed in 1861 - has also undergone many changes to increase its yield. These various stages were also accurately depicted on the model.

The reproduction of the Esna lock dam (Upper Egypt) and that of a regulating dam on the Ibrahimieh Canal completed the ensemble. All of these models, executed in polished hardwood marquetry, were both technically accurate and tastefully presented.

Two large maps of Egypt, mainly showing the Nile Valley and the dams, and a series of photographic enlargements showing the progress of the new Delta Dam, were also on display.

As irrigation must be carried out with regularity, the flow of water taken from the works must be perfectly controlled. The participation showed us a model of an adjustable weir gate as well as a very ingenious flow recording machine.

For historical purposes, a collection of ancient models was presented: shadouf-bucket, simple and double Archimedean screw, as well as a finely crafted ox-driven lifting wheel.

Although limited, the Egyptian participation was of great interest. It corresponded perfectly to the Exhibition's programme. It was officially represented by H. E. Kamel Ghaleb Bey, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt, by H. E. Abdel-Khalek Saber Bey, Deputy Undersecretary at the said Ministry and by Dr. Hassan Zaky, Inspector General of the Nile, Commissioner General of the Exhibition.

The International Awards Jury awarded the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt the Grand Prix in classes 4 and 9VI, to which the participation mainly belonged, and the Diploma of Honour in class 12, which only incidentally concerned the objects presented.

© General Report - International Water Technology Exhibition - Liège 1939