Measuring in at almost 6,853 kilometers in length, the Nile is the longest river in the world.
Most people associate the Nile with Egypt, but in fact, only about 22% of the river can be found there. Perhaps this association came from the ancient Egyptians. After all, one of the world's oldest civilizations began on the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians relied heavily on water from the Nile for their food. Every year between June and September, the Nile would flood. The flood produced a thick layer of black silt that was ideal for growing crops. These annual floods carried on for thousands of years until 1970, when the Egyptian government completed the Aswan Dam. The Nile also provided a valuable mode of transportation for trading with other civilizations, from Europe to Southwest Asia. It helped Egypt turn into a trading center that brought the entire ancient world together.
The Nile River has two major tributaries: the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The White Nile got its name from the white clay that flows in its waters. It starts at Lake Victoria in central Africa. The Blue Nile, on the other hand, starts at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, and it joins the White Nile near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The Blue Nile is very important for Egyptians because it accounts for 56% of the Nile water that flows northward through Egypt and into the Mediterranean Sea.
The Nile is still a fundamental part of life in Egypt. The river accounts for almost all of Egypt's drinking water. It also provides the water needed to grow food. But Egypt may be facing water shortages in the near future. Egypt's population is projected to grow over the next few decades, which will increase the demand for Nile River water. Demand will also increase in the countries where the Nile's tributaries are located, including Ethiopia and Burundi. To remedy the problem, the Egyptian government is planning to renovate the Aswan Dam and increase its water efficiency. It's also encouraging people to move inland and away from the Nile in order to reduce crowding.