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English Project


Realized By: Lotfi BEDOUI


I. Definition:
A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees (also known as dikes) are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. Hydropower and pumpedstorage hydroelectricity are often used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can also be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations.

II. History:
The word dam can be traced back to Middle English, and before that, from Middle Dutch, as seen in the names of many old cities. Early dam building took place in Mesopotamia and the Middle East. Dams were used to control the water level, for Mesopotamia's weather affected the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and could be quite unpredictable. The oldest known dam in the world is a masonry and earthen embankment at Jawa in the Black Desert of modern Jordan. The Jawa Dam was built in the 4th millennium bce to hold back the waters of a small stream and allow increased irrigation production on arable land downstream.

III. Role of dams:

In ancient times, dams were built for the single purpose of water supply or irrigation. As civilizations developed, there was a greater need for water supply, irrigation, flood control, navigation, water quality, sediment control and energy. Therefore, dams are constructed for a specific purpose such as water supply, flood control, irrigation, navigation, sedimentation control, and hydropower. A dam is the cornerstone in the development and management of water resources development . The multipurpose dam is a very important project for developing countries mainly, because the population receives domestic and economic benefits from a single investment.

IV. Top 5 Largest Dams over the World:

5. Lower Usuma, Nigeria: 93,000 cubic meters
Lower Usuma is the name of a dam on the Usuma river in Nigeria. It was built in 1990 near Abuja, the new capital of Nigeria, and supplied the city with drinking water. The dam holds 93 million cubic meters of raw water, the water flow to five water plants, where the water is treated before it is passed to Abuja. The total capacity of the water is 10,000 cubic meters per hour.

4. Fort Peck, Montana: 96,049 cubic meters

The Fort Peck Dam is the highest of six major dams along the Missouri River, located in northeast Montana in the United States, near Glasgow, and adjacent to the community of Fort Peck. At 21,026 feet (6,409 m) in length and over 250 feet (76 m) in height, it is the largest hydraulically filled dam in the United States, and creates Fort Peck Lake, the fifth largest man-made lake in the U.S. It lies within the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. The dam and 134-mile (216 km) long lake exist for the purposes of hydroelectric power generation, flood control, and water quality management. The dam presently has a nameplate capacity of 185,250 kilowatts, divided among 5 generating units. Three units in powerhouse number one, completed in 1951, generate a total of 105,000 kilowatts. Completed in 1961, the two remaining generating units in powerhouse number 2, have a nameplate capacity of 80,000 kilowatts.

3. Tarbela, Pakistan: 121,720 cubic meters

Tarbela Dam is a large dam on the Indus River in Pakistan. It is located in Haripur District, Hazara Division, Khyber pakhtunkhwa, about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Islamabad. The dam is 485 feet (148 m) high above the riverbed. The dam forms the Tarbela Reservoir, with a surface area of approximately 250-square-kilometre (97 sq mi). The dam was completed in 1974 and was designed to store water from the Indus River for irrigation, flood control, and the generation of hydroelectric power.

2. Samara / Zhiguli Dam,Russia: 169,000,000 cubic meters

Samara Dam is a large dam and hydroelectric station on the Volga River, located near Zhigulyovsk and Tolyatti in Samara Oblast of Russia. It is the sixth stage of the Volga-Kama Cascade of dams, and the second of them by installed power.


Three Gorges, China: 39,300,000 cubic meters

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric river dam that spans the Yangtze River in the town of Sandouping, located in the Yiling District of Yichang, in the Hubei province, China. It is the worlds largest electricity-generating plant of any kind. The dam body was completed in 2006. Except for a ship lift, all of the originally planned components of the project were completed on October 30, 2008 when the 26th generator was brought into commercial operation. Currently, it contains 26 completed generators in the shore power plant, each with a capacity of 700 MW. Six additional generators in the underground power plant are being installed and are not expected to become fully operational until around 2011.

Those dams are a proof of human achievements as a major need, but also they may present a potential disaster. Dams have to be carefully planned. People around the world dont want to get bad effect from dam even its just drying wet basement as the impact of flood leaked dams.

V. Some negative impacts of dams:

Inundated Lands Displaced People Changes in River Regime Changes of Habitat Dam Safety Concerns Predicted Benefits Not Achieved