Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dams - Benefits and problems

Dams are built across rivers to store water for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation and flood control. The dams built to serve more than one purpose are called "multi-purpose dams". These dams were called the "temples of modern India" by the country's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.


  1. Dams are built to control flood and store flood water
  2. Sometimes dams are used for diverting part or all of the water from river into a channel.
  3. Dams are used mainly for drinking and agricultural purposes.
  4. Dams are built for generating electricity
  5. Dams are used for recreational purposes
  6. Navigation and fishery can be developed in the dam areas
PROBLEMS OF DAMS Dams may face problems upstream or downstream as listed below: 
Upstream problems
  1. Displacement of tribal people
  2. Loss of non-forest land
  3. Loss of forests, flora and fauna
  4. Landslides, sedimentation and siltation occurs
  5. stagnation and waterlogging around reservoirs retards plant growth
  6. Breeding of vectors and vector-borne diseases
  7. Reservoir Induced Seismicity (RIS) causes earthquakes
  8. Navigation and aquaculture activities can be developed in the dam area
Downstream problems
  1. Water logging and salinity due to over irrigation
  2. Reduced water flow and silt deposition in rivers
  3. Salt intrusion at river mouth
  4. Since the sediments carrying nutrients gets deposited in the reservoir, the fertility of the land along the river gets reduced
  5. Due to structural defects or faulty design of the dam may cause sudden dam failure leading to collapse and destruction to life and property.


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