- Education and Science
Dams-Pros Cons and Alternative Ideas
Dams have many benefits and like everything, a few drawbacks. One of the most beneficial points of a dam are the ability to control water, then to clean it and lastly pipe into all of our homes, so that we can have clean water on demand. Control of the water helps to prevent flooding, as well as making irrigation possible to thousands of miles of farm land. Dams are also a great source of clean renewable energy, a better option than burning of fossil fuels like petrol or coal. Dammed lakes can also add recreational value, I go to one such lake quite a bit. In a land locked state, damming a lake may be the only way to have a larger lake big enough for boats, etc.
While it adds recreation to some areas, further downstream will lose recreational value like white water rafting from the lowered water levels and speed. Downstream will also feel ecological effects, almost like a domino effect from the lowered water resources. Examples were made of salmon only having a five percent chance of surviving due to dams, but one must consider that the animals that eat salmon will also be affected. Animals and humans that feed on the many animals in the cycle will also be affected, as well as a rise in the salmon’s food source. As the environment is made to live in balance, dams wreak havoc on the balance with effects to be felt across the board. Humans will also have to be displaced to make room for huge reservoirs, alienating the resource in many cases.
The key to getting away from dams and structures like this would be to utilize more of the ground water, however we consume more than is available, so the real problem is consumption. Water conservation laws should be there to limit consumption, as well as fining for use of pesticides and fertilizers. If there were incentives in place at the creation level, more companies would come up with greener ideas. Hardier plants with higher yield and drought tolerance can save millions of gallons of water. On the consumer level, discount taxes on green solutions while taxing energy waste. Desalination of sea water could be an option for many coastal towns and could be a high cost alternative for consumers who use passed a certain quota. This would make water available to high cost consumers, but incentive would be in place for the consumer to use less of the resource.