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dams

Building Big: Dams
Image: iStockphoto.com/RBOZUK

Building Big: Dams

Among the largest structures ever built, dams have helped harness the mighty forces of water for thousands of years. That’s no simple thing.

Dams prevent flooding, irrigate farmland, and generate electricity. Investigate huge dams around the world to discover their powers and how they’ve shaped our lives.

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Rivers and Lakes: Reducing the Ecological Impact of Dams

Rivers and Lakes: Reducing the Ecological Impact of Dams

Damming a river can harm aquatic animals and create other environmental dangers. Learn what works to reduce some of these threats. More...

Article
The Nature Conservancy
What Are the Costs and Benefits of Damming a River?

What Are the Costs and Benefits of Damming a River?

We’ve long relied on dams as a steady delivery source of fresh water. Discover what happened when the Glen Canyon Dam was built on the Colorado River. More...

Interactive
McDougal Littell
Aswan High Dam

Aswan High Dam

Thanks to the gigantic dam across the Nile River, Egypt gets more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours of hydropower a year. However, its soil has suffered. More...

Article
PBS
Building Big: The Dam Challenge

Building Big: The Dam Challenge

Four dams need your attention as they crack and erode. Weigh the pros and cons before you decide to repair, remove, or leave them alone. More...

Interactive
PBS
China Revealed: Three Gorges Dam

China Revealed: Three Gorges Dam

Damming China’s mighty Yangtze River illustrates economic progress as well as some major downsides. Find out what is being gained — and lost. More...

Video
Discovery
Dam Effects

Dam Effects

Dams change the course of a river and affect the surrounding environment. Identify the effects of a poorly run dam and how a well-run dam addresses them. More...

Interactive
Hydropower Reform Coalition
Dam Removal: An Overview

Dam Removal: An Overview

A dam built long ago can come down to restore a river and its ecosystem. Follow the demolition steps used at two dams in Olympic National Park. More...

Article
National Park Service
Grand Coulee Dam: Third Powerplant Overhaul

Grand Coulee Dam: Third Powerplant Overhaul

Grand Coulee Dam is the largest producer of hydropower in the U.S. and it irrigates some 600,000 acres of farmland. But to keep going it will need a $100 million upgrade. More...

Video
U.S. Department of the Interior
Hydroelectric Dam Construction in Ethiopia

Hydroelectric Dam Construction in Ethiopia

Step inside the massive tunnels being built for what will become the tallest dam of its type anywhere in the world. More...

Video
BBC
In Pictures: Three Gorges Dam

In Pictures: Three Gorges Dam

Photos tell some of the story of China’s Three Gorges Dam. More than one million people had to move to make room for this structure standing almost 600 feet. More...

Images
BBC
Restoration of the Elwha River: Olympic National Park

Restoration of the Elwha River: Olympic National Park

In the 20th century, dams were constructed with little or no consideration of their impact on freshwater ecosystems. Now, some are being dismantled. More...

Video
National Park Service
The World’s 18 Strangest Dams

The World’s 18 Strangest Dams

Dams: They all have the same purpose, but each one is unique. Take a peek at 18 of the world’s estimated 845,000 dams to see how they differ. More...

Images
Popular Mechanics

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