A joint venture which includes, Mott MacDonald of the UK, Hamza Associates of Egypt and CES Consulting Engineers Salzgitter (lead firm), Fichtner and Prof Dr Lackner and Partners of Germany, has been appointed by the Egyptian government’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation to carry out a study on the future of the Assuit barrage.

The Assuit barrage is located 400km upstream of Cairo and is the last barrage downstream of the High Aswan dam before the Nile reaches the capital. The barrage was built over 100 years ago and was rehabilitated 60 years ago. The structure now needs further rehabilitation or replacement to ensure its future safety and improve irrigation in the 600,000ha between Assuit and Cairo which are dependent on the barrage for irrigation water.

The aim of this study which is financed by the German government, represented by Kredistanstalt fur Wiederaufbrau, and the government of Egypt is to recommend either rehabilitation or construction of a new barrage taking into account all environmental and socio-economic factors.

In phase 1 of the project, the venture will carry out technical, financial and safety assessments, including the viability of introducing hydro power generation an recommending either rehabilitation or reconstruction. Depending on the outcome of phase 1, phase 2 will involve identifying new barrage construction sites and conducting geotechnical reviews, river hydrology and morphology assessments as well as outlining construction methodology, design and modification to the existing barrage after abandonment. The final phase will examine all non-technical aspects, such as environmental and social assessment, economic and financial evaluation, detailed costing and submission of an implementation schedule and final report.