Water management was always a crucial issue in the arid and semi-arid zones. Dams were essential for intensive agriculture and power generation.
Dams represented some of the most innovative works in the Arab and Ottoman world. The building of these new gigantic works attracted workers from around the region and even from Europe. They reshaped the geography of these territories and affected the life of people both in the countryside and in the cities. From the beginning of the 19th century, dams were built to improve agricultural production as part of the reforms aimed at transforming the territories of the Arab and Ottoman world into “modern” countries, capable of exporting large quantities of agricultural products or commodities such as cotton.