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The Landsat images show the appearance of center-pivot irrigation fields near one of the diminishing lakes. As of 2012, however, only about 21,000 hectares of farmland, less than 10% of what was planned, had been cultivated in the region.

The economic viability of this huge project has been unclear. It’s impossible to say exactly how much the Toshka Project has cost so far—estimates of the project’s final cost range up to $70 billion USD.

If more water were to be pumped from Lake Nasser to irrigate hundereds of thousands of hectares of farmland outside the Nile basin, the lake would likely never again spill into the Toshka lakes. However, with much less irrigated farmland than originally planned, excess water from the reservoir could indeed flow again into the Toshka lakes. And it did in late 2019. The animation below uses images from Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 to show the eastern lake filling to capacity—and more—starting in early October.

Will people find enough incentive to move to the area and develop it into a “New Nile Valley”? Landsat will continue to track the status of the Toshka region and its agricultural development.

Toshka Lakes 2019 animation

Imagery

Every picture has a story to tell
Dec. 8 and 15, 1989, Landsat 4 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 19 and 26, 2001, Landsat 7 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 19 and 28, 2013, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 23 and 30, 2017, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
July 3 and 12, 2019, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Dec. 3, 2019, Landsat 8 (path/row 175/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Mar. 24 and 18, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Nov. 22 and 29, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Feb. 9, 10, 2022, Landsat 9, 8 (path/row 176,175/44) — close-up of irrigated fields near the Toshka Lakes, Egypt

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