Environmental Impact of Rservoirs

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Recently, the environmental impact of large water reservoirs has gained increased public attention. For dams to generate electricity or supply water, it comes at an expense towards the environment. When these reservoirs are constructed, it causes a barrier in the river which affects the ecosystem. Governments create these dams for economic development without seeing the environmental impacts that are occurring. If no solution is agreed to solve this issue, the environment will be greatly impacted. The construction of dams impacts the environment exceedingly. For example, this is expressed in countries like China and Ghana.

For a more in depth look at the impact of this issue, we turn to the country of China. The Three Gorges Dam is the biggest hydropower project in the world and it provides 10% of China’s power supply (Crafter 2009). However, the dam is causing colossal environmental impacts to the areas round the Yangtze River such as land instability and the endangering of organisms. Land instability occurs due to the flooding of the Three Gorges Dam. This causes water seepage, which affects the fertility of the soil. When the soil is infertile, it creates a great chance of a landslide occurring due to “fluctuations in the reservoir’s water level (as dam operators release or store water) which experts mean massive changes in the weight and pressure of the water, which further disturbs land’s structure” (Ford, 2011). In addition to land instability, the Three Gorges Dam is a disruption to the river ecosystem. Habitat fragmentation will occur and have a catastrophic effect within the area because of the dam. The Chinese Sturgeon and the Chinese River Dolphin are some of the “378 fish species, including 162 that are unique, or en...

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...8. Web. 14 May 2014. .
Ford, Peter. "China's Three Gorges Project: A Huge Dam with Big Troubles." The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 27 July 2011. Web. 13 May 2014. .
Girmay, Yonatan. Assessing The Environmental Impacts Of A Hydropower Project: The Case Of Akosombo/Kpong Dams In Ghana. 1st ed. Stockholm: Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), 2006. Web. 14 May. 2014.
Stone, Richard. "On China's Beleaguered Yangtze, A Push to Save Surviving Species." By Richard Stone: Yale Environment 360. Yale Environment 360, 23 Sept. 2010. Web. 15 May 2014. .

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