Let's Build Environment-Friendly Dams Essay

Let's Build Environment-Friendly Dams Essay

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    A young boy- stands on the banks of a dried up river, a tear falling from his innocent face into the sand of the stream bed. He can't understand why a once mighty river has dried up. His father used to bring him camping along these wooded banks, canoeing down the rapids, and fishing in the clear waters. Eyes wandering to the huge mass of concrete which stands over the spot where his favorite waterfall used to crash over rocks, the boy can almost hear the roar of water which he loved to fall asleep to.


Back in town, many adults are happy about the building of the dam. The hydroelectric power is cheap, and the economy is booming. Tourists, coming to boat on the lake, have brought a great amount of money to town, and fresh produce from the irrigated fields is pouring into the grocery store. 'Life is better since the dam was built,' you can read in their eyes.


The debate over what to do about large hydroelectric dams has raged in the United States since 1935 and the construction of the Hoover Dam, on the Colorado River in Arizona. American Rivers (1989) finds that around 2000 hydro- dams are in operation and about 600,000 of 3.5 million miles, or almost 20 percent, of our rivers lie behind dams. It is uncontested by even the most vocal opponents that these dams, when properly utilized, can provide a wide variety of benefits to mankind, such as: reservoirs for times of drought, water for agricultural irrigation, recreational havens. and as sources for electrical power. As dams retain some two- thirds of our consumed water (Conservation Foundation, l984), irrigate farm lands worth in excess of 9 billion dollars, are visited by almost a billion people a year for recreation (Bureau of Reclamation, 1991), and pro...

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PEGAN, D.J. (1994) "Looking to Liners for Reduced Canal Maintenance at Hydro Projects." Hydro Review, 9, 64- 71.

RADIGAN, K. (1991) "Dam It All." Trout, Summer Issue, 28- 46.

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, ECONOMICS AND STATISTICS ADMINISTRATION, AND BUREAU OF THE CENSUS. (1991) Eds. P.A. London, H.A. Scarr, and M.L. Turner, Statistical Abstract of the United States, Washington, D.C., pp. 750.



VELTROP, JAN. (1991) "The Debate Over Large Dams: The Case For." Civil Engineering, 61, 46- 48.

WEATHERFORD, G.D. & BROWN, F.L. (1986), New Courses For 'I'he Colorado River, Albuquerque, N.M., pp. 253.



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