John Tyman's
Cultures in Context Series
EGYPT and the SAHARA
www.johntyman.com/sahara
5 : OASIS SETTLEMENTS
5.4  Related Issues : 396-401
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.396. All such farms are small by Australian or European standards -- more like large gardens. As a result, no oasis in the Central Sahara is able to supply all the grain it needs, as yields are low. Large quantities of cereals have, therefore, to be shipped in each autumn -- formerly by camel caravan but now by truck. (The garden at Bir Wahed)
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.397. And there are two environmental hazards which threaten most oases -- one is poor drainage and the other wind-blown sand. Getting rid of the water that is delivered to the gardens is as important as getting it there in the first place. Much is lost by evaporation, and a lot seeps into the ground and raises the level of the water table. As a result salination is a problem in many oases.  (Near Touggourt) [See also frame 377]
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.398. The advance of sand dunes bordering the oasis may also threaten its continuing existence. (Oasis south of El Oued)
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.399. Fences made of palm fronds can slow the advance but seldom stop it. There may over time be a series of such fences, for as sand piles up against them and overflows the obstacle, a new line of fronds must planted along the new dune crest: but itís a losing battle. (Oasis south of El Oued)
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.400. The gardens on the edge of the settlement will be buried eventually, with just a few palm fronds poking through the sand as a reminder that the land beneath was once productive. (South of Hassi Messouda)
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.401. At In Salah (one of the hottest and driest places in the Sahara) the gardens have shifted westwards (that is, downwind) over the centuries. Oases without additional land suitable for irrigation have been abandoned and now lie buried and forgotten. (In Salah sheltering behind fences during sandstorm)
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