- Press Release
- August 12, 2022
Merowe Dam, Nile River and the Republic of the Sudan As Seen From Orbit
Merowe Dam, Nile River and the Republic of the Sudan are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 25 crew member on the International Space Station. The Merowe Dam is located near the 4th cataract of the Nile River, in the Nubian Desert of the northeastern Republic of the Sudan (also known as Sudan). The dam was built to generate hydroelectric power-electricity intended to further industrial and agricultural development of the country.
This photograph illustrates the current extent of the reservoir filling behind the dam; the final spill gate was closed in 2008. The Merowe Dam is located approximately 350 kilometers (215 miles) to the northwest of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. The nearest settlement downstream of the dam is Karima. Following Sudan’s independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956, allocation and control of Nile River water was divided between Egypt and Sudan by the Nile Waters Treaty signed in 1959.
Today, other countries within the Nile basin-including Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda-are seeking more equitable allocation and utilization of the water and recently (2010) signed a new water use pact challenging the 1959 treaty. Beyond the issues of water rights, several local tribes will be displaced by the planned 170 kilometer-long reservoir, and the flooded region contains significant but little-studied archeological sites.
The Sudanese government has a resettlement program in place for the tribes. A variety of international institutions have been conducting “salvage” or “rescue” archeological surveys since 1999. Such rescue surveys seek to preserve as much information as possible from sites that will be destroyed or otherwise made inaccessible (in this case by flooding). high res (1.1 M) low res (59 K)