Dams are important for various reasons. They provide water for domestic, industry and irrigation purposes. Dams are often known to also provide hydroelectric power production and river navigation. Domestic use of dams include everyday activities such as water for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, and lawn and garden watering. Dams and their reservoirs provide recreation areas for fishing and boating. They go a long way in catering to people’s security needs by reducing or preventing floods. During times of excess water flow, dams store water in the reservoir; then they release water during times of low flow, when natural flows are inadequate to meet water demand. When an engineer designs and maintains dams, they are expected to keep all these purposes in mind.
Advantages of building a dam are numerous, that is the reason so much money and work goes into building and maintaining them. But one must always proceed with caution with everything in nature that seems extremely advantageous there will be some or the other disadvantageous related to it. Some of the disadvantages are:
- Dams tend to be extremely expensive to build and when a decision is taken to build one anyway, it must adhere to a very high standard.
- And other point to be kept in mind is that since the cost is so high for dam construction, it goes to mean that they must operate for many decades to become profitable enough.
- You must have heard of the rare flooding related to big dams. But this flooding of large areas of land means that the natural environment is destroyed.
- Relocation is another big concern. People living in villages and towns that are in the valley that could be flooded, must move out. Hence, they lose their farms and businesses. In some countries, people are forcibly removed so that hydro-power plant constructions can go ahead. This happens to be an ethical concern.
- The building of large dams can cause serious geological damage, for instance, the building of the Hoover Dam in the USA triggered a number of earth quakes and has depressed the earth’s surface at its location. This is an alarming matter.
- Although modern planning and design of dams has reduced the possibility of certain disasters occurring.
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