Magazine article Geographical

Changes Afoot at the Oasis: Jose Navarro Visited Egypt's Five Oases to See How Changes Are Affecting the Desert Dwellers. (Farming the Desert)

Magazine article Geographical

Changes Afoot at the Oasis: Jose Navarro Visited Egypt's Five Oases to See How Changes Are Affecting the Desert Dwellers. (Farming the Desert)

Article excerpt

The `New Valley' development, of which Toshka is a part, is changing life across Egypt's five Western Desert oases.

SIWA: Siwa, 800 kilometres northwest of Cairo, is the most remote of these oases. Despite the encroaching desert, this is one of few places not plagued by water shortages. "The problem is that there is too much water," says Mahdi, Director of the Tourist Office. Siwa is one of the seven depressions in the Western Desert. This means that it is close to aquifers that run along underground fissures from equatorial Africa to the Mediterranean sea. The continuous flow of water decreases the aquifer's levels and increases salinisation. There is no place for the runoff water to go. It inevitably ends up in the salt lakes around town, thus making already salty soil even saltier.

BAHARIYA: Across the desert, in Bahariya oasis, Egypt's New Valley strategy is paying off. The government is financing enterprises with up to 25 per cent of the total investment and promising tax relief for up to 20 years. …

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