What are the advantages and disadvantages of dams?


The main advantages of building a dam are electrical generation through hydroelectric power, water storage from reservoirs and improved crop irrigation, while the main disadvantages include construction expenses, potential destruction to wildlife habitats and the catastrophic results due to failure, as discussed by Education Center Online. Dams have the potential to enhance life with job creation and flood prevention, but they also impede life by damage to people and property.

There is a high environmental cost with dam usage, such as decreasing wildlife, altering floodplains and degraded water quality. National Geographic describes a crusade to remove more than 400 dams as a restoration attempt for rivers and waterways. Engineering dams have undergone a process change to include environmental specialists, economists and hydrologists, explains the Association of State Dam Safety Officials.

FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, details the importance of dams in managing floods, which protects countless communities from raging water destruction. Conserve Energy Future discusses the large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane released from water reservoirs created by dams, while ICOLD, the International Commission on Large Dams, stresses the importance of harnessing and evenly distributing finite water resources through dams and reservoirs to provide food, accomplished through irrigation, electricity, hydropower, inland navigation, and planned water flow, as the world population grows.

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