Water and water resources have supported mankind from a long time and continuing to do so. A number of operations are carried out with the help of a huge quantity of water. For the same, dams were invented. These are large construction bodies which are built over the rivers and lakes. These may work as a huge water reservoir. Dams are also used to store water for electricity production. The water stored in a dam is later used at places requires a huge quantity of water.
Dams have surely served us humans in the long term. But as many would agree, dams have been seen to have many adverse effects on our environment. Not only the environment, but the social life of people too. They directly affect the aquatic life too. However, it is equally important to store water through the use of dams. Otherwise, the basic needs that are fulfilled through the dams would fall short and would be affecting social life in a different way.
There can be both positive and negative impacts of dams. It is up to us to keep the cut through in limits so that negative impacts can be reduced or eliminated.
The positive and negative effects of dams have been stated as follows.
Positive Effects of Dams:
The positive effects of dams have been mentioned as follows.
- Positive impacts related to Catchment: For the clearance of the environment, many treatments of the catchment area have been carried out. Dams have a huge role to play in such treatments. These treatments are highly effective in regenerating natural forests and other ecosystems in the catchment area which is obviously a very positive effect on our environment.
- Dams as a Reservoir: Dams turn up for a huge water reservoir that later becomes responsible for providing a natural habitat for wetland species. These may include the water birds and other similar species. Not only to the humankind, this reservoir can be a source of water to the animals and plants falling under the areas nearby. Dry nearby areas can replenish themselves easily with these dams.
Negative Effects of Dams:
The negative effects of dams have been mentioned as follows.
- Negative impacts on catchments: Mostly with the construction of dams, the catchment areas experience a pressure since they are the remaining forests. Most forest areas are submerged under the dam. These catchments then get degraded. Local life around these catchments suffer adversely in such cases due to these dams.
- Deteriorating effects on lands and environment: While building dams, a lot of soil, stones and sand is required as the construction materials for the dams. This calls for mining and digging in the project site which directly disturbs the nearby wildlife and vegetation. This even causes a lot of dust pollution because of extensive digging and land replacement.
- Backwater build-up: Backwater build-up happens when a flowing river is interrupted by a dam reservoir. A kind of back pressure is generated that gives rise to backwater. This directly affects the upstream ecology in negative ways and causes a great damage to property.
- Negative effects on aquatic ecosystems: While building dams, river is usually directed elsewhere through a tunnel. The major aquatic life is directly affected by this. Some species that is low on tolerance can become extinct as a result of this direction change.
- Causes Waterlogging and salinity in water: The Canals built during the dams’ construction are the biggest reason responsible for waterlogging. In case of improper lining of these canals, water may sweep out of them and affect the nearby lands in a negative way. Drainage system, if not correctly ensured, can really disturb the local lifestyle and destroy valuable lands and their quality.
- Deforestation on a high scale: To build dams, it is often required to clear huge areas of land to make space for so many required elements. Many nearby forests need to be cut down and this happens on a really large scale. Cutting down natural forests affects wild animals as well the cutting of so many trees cause a havoc on the overall environment.
- Soil erosion and air pollution: Due to the deforestation on a large scale, soil erosion is common to take place which not only degrades the land but also adds to the air pollution. Dust particles immediately see a hike in the atmosphere, making it unfit to breathe in. This affects the animals residing nearby those forests and even the people living there. This becomes the biggest reason for trivial respiratory diseases.