This article analyses the problems of the first attempts at modernization of the Egyptian irrigation systems on the Nile River in 19th century. The focus is on the construction of the barrage in the head of Delta. This project, commenced by Egyptian ruler Muhammad Ali (1805–1848), was intended to improve the irrigation of Delta and thus increase agricultural revenues, primarily with regard to the cotton production. The engagement of French foreign advisors such as engineers Louis Maurice Linant de Bellefonds and Eugène Mougel in the first phase of the project demonstrates the great influence France held over Muhammad Ali’s Egypt. The involvement of British engineers Colin Scott-Moncrieff, William Reid and William Willcocks in the later phase of the project, which began in the 1860s, in contrast reflects British economic interests and the rising of Britain’s dominance on the Nile.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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