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Why Environmental aspects must be looked into before building dams?

Last Updated : 17 Jul, 2023
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Construction of big dams leads to the creation of large-scale destruction of the aspects of vegetation and wildlife in the areas which eventually gets submerged and is not good for the ecosystem. Because of such reasons, environmental aspects must be carefully looked at before the construction of big dams.

A dam is an obstruction that stops or confines the progression of surface water or underground streams. Repositories made by dams stifle floods as well as give water to exercises like water systems, human utilization, modern use, hydroponics, and traversability. Hydropower is much of the time utilized related to dams to create power.

Effects of Dams on the Environment

Effects of Dams on the Environment

Environmental Concerns Before Building Dams

Following environmental concerns should be kept in mind before building dams:

Ground Watertable disturbance

The construction of dams disrupts the groundwater table of the location. The level of the water table in the surrounding area may rise or go down due to the construction of the dam. We should also note the groundwater level before the construction of dams as excavation works are involved during the construction of dams.

Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gas is a gas that ingests and discharges radiant energy within infrared reach, causing the greenhouse effect. The gases which contribute to the greenhouse effect are Water vapor, Methane, Carbon dioxide Ozone, and Nitrous Oxide. Methane is created at the lower part of the dams where oxygen is low and microbes disintegrate natural material, similar to trees and grasses, which are now present or conveyed by the stream. Some portion of the methane becomes CO2; the rest is conveyed to the surface as air pockets and bubbles and these gases cause the greenhouse effect.

Displacement of People

The major problem while the construction of the dam is rehabilitating the locals who live on the upstream side and downstream sides of the dam where the reservoir has to be constructed. This leads to the destruction of property in the area and many people lose their lands and houses. Thus it is very much essential to look that the displacement of inhabitants should be as minimum as possible.

Dam failures

Dams are prestigious projects whose construction is highly expensive. Hence we need to thoroughly check for and design the dam for all possible failures and ensure maximum safety. Some of the main causes of dam failure are piling, inadequate foundation, seepage, weak abutments, and errors in spillway design.

Soil Erosion

Dams keep down the silt load typically found in a stream, denying the downstream of this. To compensate for the dregs, the downstream water dissolves its channels and banks. This bringing down of the riverbed undermines vegetation and waterway natural life.


Due to the sluggish motion of Dams in tropical regions, dams are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, snails, and flies, the vectors that carry malaria, Schistosomiasis, and river blindness.

Species Extension

Fisheries become an undeniably significant wellspring of food supply more consideration is being paid to the unsafe impacts of dams on many fish and marine warm-blooded creature populations. By far most of the huge dams do exclude appropriate detour frameworks for these creatures, disrupting their life cycles and once in a while constraining animal varieties to elimination.


Siltation is the result of residue being kept at the lower part of the supply, which lessens the utility of the dam. On account of SSP, there is the chance of untimely siltation, which concludes the life expectancy of a supply. Siltation decreases the water stockpiling limit of the repository, subverts its adequacy for power age, water system, and flood control, and delivers its handiness in the long haul.

Water logging

Rich soils in the territories of Punjab and Haryana have been burglarized for their utilization on account of water logging. The Indian Institute of Science gauges that 40% of the order region for Sardar Sarovar Dam will become waterlogged. This region contains dark cotton soils which are especially demonstrated to waterlogging under enduring water systems because of high water maintenance limits. Soils become waterlogged and crop yields fall.


The bone-dry and semi-parched regions are unequipped for dealing with a lot of water brought by the water system. Water system water has a more saline substance and adds more salt to the framework prompting the increment of salinization. Changes in the salt system can influence the whole environment and disturb the reproduction of fish. Enormous regions on the waterway banks are probably going to be impacted by an expanded nature of salt after dam development.

Related Links

  1. Dams and Significance
  2. Importance of Dams
  3. How many dams and rivers are there in India?
  4. Bhakra Nangal Dam

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Which mental aspects should be carefully looked into before building dams?


The environmental aspects should be examined carefully before building dams. Huge dams lead to the destruction of large-scale natural habitats.

Q 2. What things must be considered before building a dam?


The things to be considered before building dams include topography, geology, availability of materials, and issues of spillage.

Q 3. Why has quarrying become an important environmental concern?


Quarrying has become a major environmental concern as very small dust particles spread in air which is around quarrying sites which causes issues of air pollution.

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