Advantages of Dam

A large section of India’s population suffers from water crisis or mismanagement of water resources. To begin with, there is not enough clean water for drinking or irrigation purposes in many parts of the country. On the other hands, flash floods are also frequent in many regions.

As a means to remedy this persistent problems, human-made structure like dams and reservoirs have been constructed across streams and rivers. This article highlights the significant advantages of dams and also sheds light on the fundamental uses of dams and reservoirs.

Read along to find out more!

What are Dams?

A dam is a structure that is built on rivers, streams or estuary for conserving water. It directly helps to supply residents with adequate water for consumption, industrial and irrigation purposes. 

In a broad sense, modern dams are of 2 types – concrete dams and embankments. Concrete dams or masonry dams block streams which run through narrow gorges, whereas embankments control streams and rivers which flow through broad valleys.

Example of Masonry Dam in India: Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Andhra Pradesh

Example of Embankment Dam in India: The Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand 

[Image: Rivers and Dams in India]

Test Your Knowledge: Which is the largest dam in India?

Uses of Dams

There are several uses of dams. Some of the most common ones are as follows –

  • The water conserved in reservoirs provides freshwater to residential, industrial and mining areas. 

  • The conserved water satiates irrigation purposes.

  • Facilitates the process of generating energy from renewable sources, like hydropower.

  • Helps to regulate the flow of water of rivers and streams and protects communities residing down in the valley.

  • Facilitates water conservation for meeting future requirements. 

With that being said, let’s proceed to find out the associated merits and demerits of dams.

Advantages of Dams

Dams offer an array of economic, social and environmental benefits and are useful for most problems pertaining to water conservation and its crisis management.

On that note, let’s glance through the top advantages of dams – 

  1. Water Storage

Arguably, this is one of the primary uses of dams and reservoirs. The water stored in reservoirs helps to make up for water crises in dry seasons. It also ensures regular water supply for residential, industrial and agricultural consumption.  

  1. Flood Control

Undoubtedly, mitigating flood is a major importance of dams. Dams help to control the flow of floodwater by diverting its course towards other uses, storing the excess water or releasing it with caution. In turn, it helps to save lives and resulting displacement. 

  1. Irrigation

One of the most significant merits of dams is the role they play in irrigation. Dams have helped farmers tackle the problem of watering crops significantly, which has resulted in a boost in crop production. 

  1. Electricity Production

Over the years, hydropower has emerged as an effective way of meeting the energy crisis in many regions of India. Also, being a clean source of energy, hydropower does not contribute to any kind of pollution. Tehri Dam, Srisailam Dam and Sardar Sarovar Dam are some of the top hydropower plants in India.

  1. Debris Control

Besides mitigating flood, dams often prove useful in retaining detrimental sedimentation. In fact, they may also come in handy in preventing the disposition of hazardous material and subsequent contamination. 

  1. Recreation

One of the benefits of dams is that they also provide recreational facilities to human beings. One can enjoy boating, skiing and fishing in the stagnant water. Maithon dam and Bhakra Nangal dam are popular among tourists as recreational hubs. 

Disadvantages of Dams

Irrespective of its array of benefits, dams have a significant share of disadvantages. The following offers a brief idea about it.

  • Displacement of people during construction.

  • Reservoirs often emit a high percentage of greenhouse gases.

  • Often disrupts local ecosystems.

  • It disrupts the groundwater table.

  • Blocks progression of water to other countries, states or regions. 

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Why are Dams Built?

Ans. Dams are built to store water, meet irrigation requirements and mitigate flood-oriented disasters. Dams also play a significant role in generating a clean source of energy through hydropower and help to meet the energy crisis. 

2. What are Dams Used For?

Ans. Dams regulate the flow of rivers and streams. They also come in handy for preventing flash floods in low-lying lands and valleys. Over the years, dams have emerged useful for generating hydro-electricity.

3. Name 5 Largest Dams in India.

Ans. These are the 5 largest dams in India –

i. Tehri Dam, Uttarakhand

ii. Hirakud Dam, Odisha

iii.  Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujrat

iv. Bhakra Nangal Dam, Himachal Pradesh

v. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Andhra Pradesh.