Are Big Dams Necessary?

In Favor :-

  • There are multiple benefits by big dams. They provide water for irrigation, prevents of floods and generates electricity.
  • Large dams have the potential to save the country from critical food shortages.
  • We cannot blame dams for improper rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is not done properly because of the delays of projects in turn caused by social activists.
  • Dams save ground water from over-exploitation.
  • Hydel power is the cleanest and cheapest source of energy after solar energy.
  • Small dams are uneconomic.
  • Dams are the main source for water in dry areas.
  • It’s good to use technology for our survival.

Against :-

  • Big dams displaces thousands of local people and causes loss of their livelihoods.
  • Till now only one fourth of the displaced people are rehabilitated.
  • Construction and maintenance of big dams require huge financial investments. It leads to less investments for the other development sectors like welfare schemes, other development activities etc.
  • Dams affect the fertility of the soil.
  • Dams cause permanent destruction of vast expanse of forests, wetlands and wildlife.
  • Local people’s attachment to the land that they have nurtured all their lives is treated as insignificant. They are uprooted ruthlessly for the construction of dams.
  • Most of displaced people are rural poor and belongs to Scheduled Tribes.
  • Due to lack of flow of water, water becomes stagnated and causes spreading of water-borne diseases and releases green house gases.
  • Big dams cause earthquakes because of the weight of water in reservoirs.
  • If a large dam is damaged, it will effect the lives of lakhs of people.
  • In the world’s worst dam disaster in China in 1975 when two large dams burst as many as 2,30,000 people died.
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Alternatives :-

  • Through ‘rainwater harvesting’ rain can be caught on rooftops and channeled into tanks.
  • By investing more in solar energy, dependence on hydel power reduces.

Facts :-

  • India holds a strong position in the list of dam building countries after US and China.

Conclusion :-

We need dams. However by focusing more on alternative methods, need of big dams will lessen over time. When dams are constructed, care must be taken to rehabilitate all. Dams must be built on a strong rock foundation and total dam must be strong enough to tolerate natural disasters.
Your Turn…
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6 comments ✍

  1. There was a great earthquake in Assam in 1950. So our great leaders are campaining we should not build any dam in this part of the country which may damage our property & lives. Are they talking also that we should not built big houses, gather wealth, or even should not do politics, because it may again come within next hundred years. Environmental issues are always detrimental to any development project.It is sure to effect the ecological balance and environment but we should also remember that while thousand of hectres are deforested every day, while flood is causing havoc without any DAM, while poor farmers are praying to rain god to give water for only 1 crop and sustainable livelihood the Masters of environment and ECOLOGY are SILENT. Do we need agitaion for the sake of Agitaionwhich benefits the LEADERs only at the long run at the cost of poor people. We strongly agrue we need the DAM to solve many of our problems. If rest of INDIA is benefitted by 4300 big DAMS why all these hue & cry for the only project in Assam. Are we really petriot ? J D Goswami

  2. Ya Lower Subanshiri dam, a 2000 mw project by NHPC is a great threat to Assam. If the dams breaks or give away in case of earthquake then 50 % of Assam will come under flood ..Moreover Assam is gaining nothing from the project.she will not get the proposed amount of electricity as proposed by power commission ..Instead Assam will lose more than gaining… The dam construction will also IMpact the bio diversity of the region..It will decrease sediments, Water Quality in the fertile plains of Assam..The Goverment and NHPC is talking of applying modern technology in constructing the dam….BUT SOMEDAY IF THE DAM BREAK AWAY ..THEN NO MODERN TECHNOLOGY WILL BE ABLE TO SAVE ASSAM FROM FLOOD…

  3. We should protest against all Dams–We are protesting against newly ongoing build Suwansiri Bandh, Gerukamukh–Arunachal–Who is NHPC,Who is Mr Tarun GOgoi,CM for the Dam and supporters of Dams–All Indians should lift their hands since such dams can cause havoc, can wash you all way in seconds–yes, we need electricity–but not from Dams –dams creates Earthquacks–there are such 100 instances –pl follow this link http://www.internationalrivers.org/node/3845

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