Sweet Water Canal

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This article is about the canal in Egypt. For the general concept of a "sweet water canal", see Aqueduct (water supply) and Canal.

The Sweet Water Canal, the same as Fresh Water Canal, is a modern canal of Egypt, running along the northern periphery of the now dry distributary of the Wadi Tumilat[1] and extending from Port Said in the north all the way to Suez in the south.[1] Construction was completed in 1863, designed to supply drinking water to nearby citizens.[1]

During its construction, remnants of an ancient canal, the Canal of the Pharaohs were discovered which ran through the ancient Egyptian cities of Pi-Ramesses, Bubastis and Pithom.[2] This ancient canal that was discovered has been hypothesized to have been a portion of an ancient "Suez" canal which extended from the Nile to the Red Sea[3] and accounted for by three early classical writers -- Aristotle, Strabo and Pliny the Elder.[3]

The terms Sweet Water Canal, Fresh Water Canal and Ismaïlia Canal have been used interchangeably by previous writers,[4] causing a source of confusion.


  1. ^ a b c "Sweet Water Canal." Encyclopædia Britannica, (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica Online, retrieved Aug. 8, 2008.
  2. ^ Montet, Pierre. Everyday Life In The Days Of Ramesses The Great (1981), page 184. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  3. ^ a b See for example:
    a.   Petrie, Flinders. Social Life in Ancient Egypt (1970 reprint, 1923 original), page 176. New York: Cooper Square.
    b.   Rappoport, S. (Doctor of Philosophy, Basel). History of Egypt (undated, early 20th century), Volume 12, Part B, Chapter V: "The Waterways of Egypt," pages 248-251. London: The Grolier Society.
    c.   Silver, Morris. Ancient Economies II (Apr. 6, 1998), "5c. Evidence for Earlier Canals." ANCIENT ECONOMIES II, retrieved Aug. 8, 2008. Economics Department, City College of New York.
  4. ^ For example, Rappoport (page 267, referenced above) states that it is the Fresh Water Canal which "supplies drinking water" between "Port Said and all the floating population about the banks of the Suez Canal." Also already are the terms Ismaïlia Canal and Fresh Water Canal used interchangeably.