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This culminated in the construction of the Aswān High Dam, completed in 1971 but which first held back the floodwaters in 1964.Control of the Nile has made it possible to cultivate year round. About 96 percent of Egypt's population lives in the Nile Valley, which comprises about 4 percent of the area of the country; most of the economic and social activity occurs there. This includes the scrub desert along the Mediterranean coast between the Nile Delta and Libya, and along the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula; the mountainous desert between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea; and the western desert west of the Nile Valley. Only the Mediterranean coast has rain that is reliable enough to support marginal human activity, with some agriculture and animal husbandry.The Nile rises far to the south of Egypt, in Ethiopia and in the drainage basin of Lake Victoria.It reaches Egypt in Lake Nasser, behind the Aswān High Dam.The Western Desert has five oases that support a settled population and serve as communication centers (Khārga, Dakhla, Farafra, Baharīya, and Siwa).
Egypt's population is predicted to double between 19.
There are a few small linguistic minorities, of which the largest is the Nubians, who speak two Nubian languages (Kenuz and Mahas) related to the Nilo-Saharan languages of the Sudan.
They represent less than 1 percent of Egypt's population, and are concentrated around Aswan.
After the dam, the Nile continues to flow north in a single channel paralleled by irrigation canals until it reaches Cairo, 550 miles (860 kilometers) away. The Nile breaks into two main channels, the western Rosetta branch and the eastern Damietta branch, for the final 120 miles (200 kilometers) before the water reaches the Mediterranean.
The two main regions of Egypt are thus the Valley, or Sa'id, in the south, and the Delta in the north, separated by Cairo at the apex of the Delta.
Among the major geographical features of Egypt are the Nile River and the Suez Canal, which joins the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and also separates Egypt proper from Sinai.