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Drawbacks of Dam Construction

Dams are extremely useful mega structures that have an important role in harnessing the prosperity and welfare of millions and billions of people of a nation. Other than its advantages, it possess great problems and difficulty to the environment and also during its construction.

Also Read: Dams-Types and Features

Major Problems Faced in Dam Construction

The four major problems faced during dam construction:

  1. Fish Problem
  2. Submergence Problem
  3. Failure Problem

1. Fish Problem During Dam Construction

Rivers being the major habitat for fishes, the construction of dams affect badly the movement of fishes from downstream to upstream. During late summer seasons, fishes move from downstream to upstream to lay eggs. Fishes hence cannot overtop the dam barriers to move upstream.
Instead of returning to downstream and sea, they try hitting the barrier furiously to overtop it and finally get exhausted and killed. This would result it:
  • Large scale killing of fish
  • Damage to fish industry
  • Negative effect of nation economy
Solution to this issue is the construction of fish ladder, which is a thin navigation with several lock system that enable fishes to move from downstream to upstream. The fish ladder are designed and located in an area near the dam that would attract major fishes passing.

2. Submergence Problem

The construction of dam across a river will store large quantity of water on the upstream, more than the already held river level. This can cause a large area to get submerged due to this rise in water level.
Before the construction of a dam, the entire area of land that will be covered by the reservoir must be determined and acquired by any of the land owners. The land owners must be adequately compensated and well settled before the work. Hence, it is very necessary to forecast the danger that can come.

3. Failure Problem 

Dams are constructed with maximum accuracy and hope to live as long as possible. But, some some dams due to the continuous pressure from the water are subjected to damage and failure. These failure may be due to bad workmanship or due to faulty design.
With technological advancements, huge structures are properly designed and undergo proper maintenance. Proper rational design, good supervision and regular maintenance ensures safety and durability of dams.


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