Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)
Can the new pumping system on the Giza Plateau help reduce damage to the Sphinx caused by leaking subterranean water? Nevine El-Aref looks at this, and what caused the high water level
Within the framework of the Ministry of State for Antiquities's programme to preserve its ancient Egyptian monuments, Giza Plateau inspectorate has begun operating a state-of-the-art pumping system to reduce the high rate of subterranean water that has accumulated beneath the Sphinx and the underlying bedrock.
Ali El-Asfar, director of the Giza Plateau archaeological site, says that under the new system 18 water pump machines distributed over the plateau are pumping out 26,000 cubic metres of water daily at a rate of 1,100 cubic metres of water an hour, based on studies previously carried out by reputed Egyptian-American experts in subterranean water and ground mechanic and equilibrium factors.
The LE22-million project was initiated to reduce the high level of subterranean water under the Sphinx, which had increased because of the new drainage system installed in the neighbouring village of Nazlet Al-Seman and the irrigation technique used to cultivate public gardens and green areas in the neighbouring residential area of Hadaaq Al-Ahram and the golf course at the Mena House Hotel.
"All these have led to the leakage of water into the plateau, affecting especially the Valley Temple and the Sphinx which are located on a lower level," El-Asfar said.