Isaiah 19:5-10 Egyptian Great Depression

The waters from the sea will dry up, and the river will be parched and dry. The canals will emit a stench, the streams of Egypt will thin out and dry up; the reeds and rushes will rot away. The bulrushes by the Nile, by the edge of the Nile and all the sown fields by the Nile will become dry, be driven away, and be no more. And the fishermen will lament, and all those who cast a line into the Nile will mourn, and those who spread nets on the waters will pine away. Moreover, the manufacturers of linen made from combed flax and the weavers of white cloth will be utterly dejected. And the pillars of Egypt will be crushed; all the hired laborers will be grieved in soul.

… and the river will be parched and dry… The Nile River and the Aswan High Dam are Egypt’s lifeline. About 95% of Egypt’s population lives within twelve miles of the river. The Nile River is Egypt’s main source of drinking and fresh water. Water purification plants are located on the Nile. The Aswan High Dam provides about half of Egypt’s electrical power supply. The river is also a major factor in the tourism industry. Nile River cruises will be out of business without a river. The brick industry will cease to function without water.

… and all the sown fields by the Nile will become dry… Egypt’s agriculture depends entirely on irrigation. Egypt’s agricultural sector is one of the most productive in the world. This will change without water from the Nile. With irrigation, two crops per year can be produced. Farmers do not have to pay for water used in irrigation.

The Aswan Dam has allowed Egypt to reclaim about 2.07 million acres from the Delta along the Nile Valley, increasing the country’s irrigated area by a third. About 1.03 million acres, mostly in Upper Egypt, were converted from flood irrigation. Approximately half a million families have been settled on these new lands.

Today, 95 percent of the wheat and rice crops are used to satisfy domestic consumption. Wheat yields in Egypt have tripled between 1952 and 1991 due to increased availability of water from the dam. Despite the increases, Egypt continues to be a large importer of food. Egypt is the world’s largest wheat importer. Egypt is already feeling the pinch of decreased wheat imports from the Russian drought of the 2010 summer and the Australian floods of 2011.

Areas where rice and sugar grow have seen cultivation increase. Two crops of rice can be grown each year, but sugar cane has a growing period of almost one year.

And the fishermen will lament… Lake Nasser formed by the Aswan Dam has arguably the best freshwater fishing in the world for Nile perch and Tiger Fish. Other species include catfish (the giant Vundu being the biggest) and tilapia.  There are over thirty species of fish in the lake. Sardine fishing is also part of the Nile River economy.

…the manufacturers of linen made from combed flax and the weavers of white cloth will be utterly dejected… Cotton has been the country’s largest agricultural export product for many years. Egyptian cotton is known for its superiority among the world cotton varieties. Textile factories and farmers will cease to operate.

…all the hired laborers will be grieved in soul…Without irrigation from the Nile…unemployment and chaos.

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