Summary and Final Tasks
After completing Module 5, you should now be able to outline the positive and negative aspects of dams, including their economic, environmental, political, and physical impacts. Additionally, you now have a clear context for discussion of these issues through two well-studied and highly politicized examples that encapsulate many of the controversies surrounding large dams: The Three Gorges and Aswan High Dams. Because dams are one primary means to cope with water scarcity, secure water supply, and mitigate flooding – as well as to generate hydro-electric power – a detailed understanding of their consequences is essential for upcoming modules, wherein we will explore potential solutions to water shortage, fluctuating supply associated with climate change, and increased demand as economies in developing nations continue to grow. In the next module (Module 6) we will turn our attention away from surface water systems briefly, to focus on the physical aspects of groundwater flow and aquifers as another important source of water. Moving forward from there, we will revisit problems related to water quality and supply, many of which are directly linked to impoundment of water behind dams, and will explore potential solutions.
Reminder - Complete all of the Module 5 tasks!
You have reached the end of Module 5! Double-check the to-do list on the Module 5 Roadmap to make sure you have completed all of the activities listed there before moving on to Module 6.1!
References and Further Reading
Dixon, T.H., Amelung, F., Ferretti A., Novali, F., Rocca, F., Dokka, R., Sellall, G., Kim, S.-W., Wdowinski, S., and Whitman, D. (2006), Subsidence and flooding in New Orleans. Nature, 441, 587-588.
Finer M, Jenkins CN (2012), Proliferation of Hydroelectric Dams in the Andean Amazon and Implications for Andes-Amazon Connectivity, PLoS ONE 7(4), e35126, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035126
Gleick, P., 2012. Chapter 6: China Dams. The World's Water, Volume 7. Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, p. 127-140.
Graf, W. L., E. Wohl, T. Sinha, and J. L. Sabo, 2010. Sedimentation and sustainability of western American reservoirs, Water Resour. Res., 46, W12535, doi:10.1029/2009WR008836
Graf, W.L., 1999. Dam nation: A geographic census of American dams and their large-scale hydrologic impacts. Water Resources Res., v. 35, p. 1305–1311. http://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=101
Hu et al., 2009. Sedimentation in the Three Gorges Dam and the future trend of Changjiang (Yangtze River) sediment flux to the sea. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2253–2264, 2009 www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/13/2253/2009/
REN21, 2013. Renewable 2013 Global Status report, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. https://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/GSR2013_Full-Report_Eng...
Syvitsky, J.P.M., A. Kettner, 2011. Sediment flux and the Anthropocene. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 March 2011 vol. 369 no. 1938 957-975, doi: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0329.
UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) 2013, Thematic focus: Climate change, Ecosystem management, Environmental governance: Balancing economic development and protecting the cradle of mankind - Lake Turkana basin.
UNESCO, 2011. Sediment Issues and Sediment Management in Large River Basins: Interim Case Study Synthesis Report. International Sediment Initiative Technical Documents in Hydrology, UNESCO Office in Beijing & IRTCES 2011.
Vörösmarty, C., et al. (2004), Humans transforming the global water system, Eos Trans. AGU, 85(48), 509–514, doi:10.1029/2004EO480001.
World Commission On Dams, 2000, Dams And Development: A New Framework For Decision-Making, Earthscan Publications Ltd, London And Sterling, VA, 404 pp.