At the western end of the barrage begins the Ibrahimia canal, the feeder of the Bahr Yusuf, the largest irrigation canal of Egypt.
The Ibrahimia canal is skirted by a magnificent embankment planted with shady trees leading from the river to the town.
The khedive, having acquired vast estates in the provinces of Assiut, Miniah, BeniSuef and the Fayum, resolved to grow sugar-cane on a very large scale, and with this object constructed a very important perennial canal, named the Ibrahimia, taking out of the left bank of the Nile at the town of Assiut, and flowing parallel to the river for about 200 m., with an important branch which irrigates the Fayum.
There being at its head no weir across the Nile, the water in the Ibrahimia canal used to rise and fall with that of the river, and so the supply was apt to run short during the hottest months, as was the case with the canals of Lower Egypt before the barrage was built.
To supply the Ibrahimia canal at all during low Nile, it had been necessary to carry on dredging operations at an annual cost of about £12,000.
There is a lock 80 metres long and 16 metres wide at the left or western end of the weir, and adjoining it are the regulating sluices of the Ibrahimia canal.
In Upper Egypt the most important canals are the Ibrahimia and the Bahr Yusuf (the River of Joseph).
The Ibrahimia takes its water from the Nile at Assiut, and runs south to below Beni Suef.
It leaves the Ibrahimia at Derut near its original point of departure from the Nile.