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iv        THE  FIRST  PHASE   OF   THE   OCCUPATION       71
digenous mismanagement and corruption, but also from the blighting influence of internationalism. Too many oooks spoil the broth, and never more surely than when they are of different and rival nationalities. India, the great school of modern irrigation, was at once called in aid, and she sent of her very best, Scott-Moncrieff, Garstin, Willcocks, Boss, Western, and others, all men of highest scientific attainments, and hard-workers who never spared themselves. By one of them, Sir William Willcocks, whose name will always remain conspicuously associated with the great Assuan dam, the fascinating story of Egyptian irrigation has been written in two big volumes. The old system in the Delta, where drainage and irrigation canals had come to be disastrously mixed up, was first of all restored to usefulness, and improved methods were introduced for clearing away the accumulation of silt after the annual season of fertilising floods. Perennial irrigation, of which Mehemet Ali had recognised the necessity for the cultivation of cotton and sugar, the most valuable of Egyptian crops, was rapidly developed and now covers the whole of the Delta and some districts of Upper Egypt, in substitution for the more primitive system of basin irrigation which is only possible in flood time. It is perennial irrigation that enables Egypt to have a summer as well as a winter crop by securing a constant supply of carefully meted out water even when the Nile is low, instead of the short inrush limited to the season when it is in flood. Perennial irrigation, however, requires much deeper canals, and it soon became evident that it could not achieve complete success unless some of the vast volume of water that flowed down and was wasted in the sea during the flood season could be held up and stored for distribution during the low Nile season. Mehemet All's French engineers had been quite aware of this, and the great Barrage on the Nile just below Cairo, though too faultily constructed to serve anything like the full purpose for which it had been designed, still stood as a sign-postland to pursue for a long time to