We are well aware of dams in India and also that our country India holds the third position in building the largest dam in the world after China and the US.

What are Dams?

Dams are generally defined as the barriers that store water, underground streams and prevents from being able to suppress floods. It also provides water for different activities such as irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability.

Dams are important to our country and pose problems as well like, they change the ecosystem of the rivers, high cost for constructing the dam, they must be operated for many several years to become profitable, restoration after serious geological damage, flooding of large areas of land may cause dams to give in to the weight of water leading to deaths and flooding, etc.

Alternatives to Dams


Keeping in mind the considerable disadvantages related to dams, one does consider the alternatives that might be feasible. Dams are known to alter the natural flow regime and with it virtually every aspect of a river ecosystem, including water quality, sediment transport, deposition, fish migrations and reproduction, floodplain habitat and the organisms that rely on this habitat. Hence, we must comprehend that dams seem to be the way out to meet the growing demand for water. Regardless of the fact that the demand is new as a result of population growth or to get used to the changed run-off patterns of precipitation causing a change in the climate. For these alternatives to actually stand a chance, one must first understand the requirements of water for the community.

Once the demand is understood, we can proceed to the alternatives that are feasible in nature. Water conservation and efficient use of water is not a topic to be trifled with, neither it is one to be extensively discussed on, going ahead with the assumption that we are educated enough to comprehend its importance.

The reuse of water or reclamation or water recycling corresponds to the reuse of treated sewage, greywater or stormwater for non-potable activities, namely industrial processes, irrigation, toilet flushing, and fire protection among others. Another option is groundwater recharge which involves reloading underground water sources in a wet year or in a season of water availability. Re-operation of existing dams is quite a good option. In the sense, altering the way an already existing dam is utilized is usually cheaper and less harmful to our environment compared to constructing a new dam and in most cases re-operating a dam goes to mean that it can provide water for farms, cities, and fish in dire times of the year without any major drawbacks from energy production, environmental or flood protection aspects.

Also Read: List of Largest dams in India

Important Questions on for you:

 What are the benefits of dams?

There are numerous economic benefits from dams. They are multi-purpose, as the majority of the dams are built for irrigation and hydropower. Nearly one-fifth of the world’s electricity is generated from dams. Dams also protect us from the floods, supplies water to cities, and also supports river navigation.

Which is the oldest dam in the world?

Jawa Dam is the world’s oldest dam dating back to the fourth millennium BC. This dam is on the remains of an ancient location in Jordan, 100 km away from the capital Amman. Lake Homs Dam is the oldest operational dam, located in Syria.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about the Dams and other related topics at BYJU’S Biology


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