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In southern Egypt, the sandy desert has turned into a lakes region. Beginning in 1998, lakes quickly appeared and almost as quickly disappeared from Egypt’s Sahara Desert. Then, in late 2019, they appeared again. Landsat and Sentinel-2 satellites captured these remarkable changes.

These images also show the progress of the Toshka Project. Originally intended to relocate millions of Egyptians from overcrowded cities into a “New Nile Valley,” the project includes plans for hundreds of thousands of hectares of irrigated farmland. Like the lakes that formed in this region, this irrigation project relies upon water from the Nile River.

Imagery

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Dec. 8 and 15, 1989, Landsat 4 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 19 and 26, 2001, Landsat 7 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 19 and 28, 2013, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Aug. 23 and 30, 2017, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
July 3 and 12, 2019, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Nov. 24, 2019, and Dec. 3, 2019, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Mar. 24 and 18, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Nov. 22 and 29, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 175,176/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt
Feb. 9, 10, 2022, Landsat 9, 8 (path/row 176,175/44) — Toshka Lakes, Egypt

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References (Earthshot Overview/Parent Only)

Abdelsalam, M.G., Youssef, A.M., Arafat, S.M., and Alfarhan, M., 2008, Rise and demise of the New Lakes of Sahara: Geosphere, v. 4, no. 2, p. 375–386. (Also available online at http://geosphere.gsapubs.org/content/4/2/375.abstract.)

Bestawesy, M.E., Arafat, S., Khalaf, F., 2007, Estimation of water loss from Toshka Lakes using remote sensing and GIS, in 10th AGILE International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Aalborg University, Denmark, 2007, Proceedings: Association of Geographic Information Laboratories for Europe. (Available online at http://www.agile-online.org/index.php/conference/proceedings/proceedings-2007.)

Chipman, J.W., and Lillesand T.M., 2007, Satellite‐based assessment of the dynamics of new lakes in southern Egypt: International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 28, no. 19, p. 4365–4379. (Also available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01431160701241787.)

Deputy, E.K., 2011, Designed to Deceive—President Hosni Mubarak’s Toshka Project: University of Texas at Austin, master’s thesis, 95 p.

Fecteau, A., 2012, On Toshka New Valley’s Mega-failure: Egypt Independent, 26 April 2012, available online at http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/toshka-new-valleys-mega-failure. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

Hope, B., 2012, Egypt’s new Nile Valley—Grand plan gone bad: The National, 22 April 2012, available online at http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/egypts-new-nile-valley-grand-plan-gone-bad. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

NASA, 2012, International Space Station Imagery: NASA Human Spaceflight Web page at http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/crew-17/html/iss017e008290.html. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

NASA, 2012, Toshka Lakes, Southern Egypt: NASA Earth Observatory, available at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=78531. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

NASA, 2008, Toshka Lakes, Egypt: NASA Earth Observatory, available at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8883. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

NASA, 2006, Decreasing Water Levels in Egypt’s Toshka Lakes: NASA Earth Observatory, available at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6175. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

Nelson, S.S., 2012, Mubarak's Dream Remains Just That In Egypt's Desert: National Public Radio Web page available at http://www.npr.org/2012/07/10/155027725/mubaraks-dream-remains-just-that-in-egypts-desert. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

Net Resources International, 2012, Toshka Project—Mubarak Pumping Station, Egypt: water-technology.net Web page at http://www.water-technology.net/projects/mubarak. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

PBS, [n.d.], Aswan High Dam: Wonders of the World Databank, PBS Web page available at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/wonder/structure/aswan_high.html. (Accessed December 3, 2013.)

Warner, J., 2013, The Toshka mirage in the Egyptian desert—River diversion as political diversion: Environmental Science & Policy, v. 30, p. 102–112. (Also available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S146290111200202X.)

Waterbury, J., and Whittington, D., 1998, Playing Chicken on the Nile? The Implications of Microdam Development in the Ethiopian Highlands and Egypt’s New Valley Project: Natural Resources Forum—A United Nations Sustainable Development Journal, v. 22, no. 3, p. 155–163.

Wilkinson, J., and Schmidt, S., 2022, Two Decades of Change at Toshka Lakes: NASA Earth Observatory, accessed February 24, 2022, at https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/149334/two-decades-of-change-at-toshka-lakes.

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