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Irrigation and Water Systems in Egypt

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The Egyptians depended on the annual flooding of the Nile to cover their fields with black silt and to irrigate their crops. They measured the flood to determine their taxes. They built canals and dams so that water could be transported from the Nile for irrigation and for drinking. The Egyptians created tools to help raise the water from the Nile to the surface of the fields.

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Irrigation Methods in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptians had several methods for transporting water including jugs, canals, and the shadoof, a counterbalanced sweep used to raise water. A sweep is a long pole which pivots on a high post and is used to lower and raise a bucket containing water from a river or canal.

Water Distribution in the Islamic Period

Muslim kings and sultans built canals, channels, and dams to transport water from the Nile for all aspects of life including agriculture, irrigation, and drinking.

The Tanbour, Tool to Raise Water

Raising water from the level of the Nile to the surface of the farmlands was a very important activity in Egypt. The tanbour made this task easier.

The Saqiyya, or Chain of Pots to Raise Water

The saqiyya is a chain of pots used to raise water on a large-sized wheel that turns as one or more animals pushes a bar connected to a large wheel.

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