Lake Manzala on the Nile Delta, Egypt31.2N 32.2E
The brackish waters of Lake Manzala (also Manzaleh), in northeastern Egypt on the Nile Delta near Port Said (far right), appear various shades of green.
As of 2008 the lake, sometimes called a lagoon, was 47km long and 30km wide, making it the largest of the northern deltaic lakes of Egypt.
Lake Manzala is long but quite shallow; it’s natural depth is only four to five feet. However, alterations to the depth were made during the construction of the Suez Canal (far right) to allow ships to pass. The Canal now extends 29 miles lengthwise along the lake.
In addition to the changes to its depth, the lake has undergone other alterations over the last three decades: pollution and lake drainage have reduced the lake’s productivity.
The government of Egypt drained substantial portions of the lake in an effort to convert its rich Nile deposits to farmland. By 2001, Lake Manzala had lost approximately 80 percent of its former area through the effects of drainage efforts.
The project was unprofitable: crops did not grow well in the salty soil and the value of resulting produce was less than the market value of the fish that the reclaimed land had formerly yielded.