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Famous Dams

Updated on October 22, 2011

A dam is said to be a barrier that confines water. Dams generally are used to retain water, while other structures such as dikes are used to manage or prevent water flow into a region.

Dams are combined with Hydropower and pumped-storage to provide electricity for millions of consumers. It can also be used to collect water or for storage of water while some dams are also built for recreational purposes. One the basis of size dams can be of following types:

  1. Masonry and concrete dams
  2. Embankment dams
  3. Cofferdams
  4. Beaver dams

With the types discussed here are some of the most famous dams in the world:

The Hoover Dam.
The Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam, USA

This dam was considered to be a masterpiece of the twentieth century when it was built in 1936.

The Dam is built on the mighty Colorado River. It is an arch-gravity type dam.

Presently it is considered the most famous dam in the world.

It is 221m high and its base is 200m thick.

It was named after President Hoover who played a vital role in its construction.

It is considered a national historic landmark in the United States since 1985.

The Grand Dixence Dam.
The Grand Dixence Dam.

Grande Dixence, Switzerland

The Grande Dixence Dam is built in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

Its construction started in 1953 and was completed in 1965.

It 285 meters high and is the tallest gravity dam in the world. The dam is used to produce hydroelectricity and stores up to 100 Billion gals of water.

The Dworshak Dam.
The Dworshak Dam.

Dworshak Dam, USA

Dworshak Dam is a dam built on the Clearwater River. It is hydroelectric, concrete gravity dam providing up to 460 MW of power generation.

The dam is the highest concrete dam in the American continent and the 22nd highest dam in the world. Its construction started in 1966 and was completed in 1973. Its height and length are 219m and 1,002m respectively. 

The Inguri Dam.
The Inguri Dam.

The Inguri Dam, Georgia

The Inguri Dam on the Inguri River is a hydroelectric dam in Georgia. Currently it is the world's highest concrete arch dam with a height of 272m.

It is located near the town Jvari.

Its construction started in 1961 and was completed in 1987. Its total power generation capacity is 1,320 MW.

The Vajont Dam.
The Vajont Dam.

Vajont Dam, Italy

The Vajont Dam is a disused dam. It was completed in 1959 in the valley of the VajontRiver. The dam caused the deaths of approximately 2,000 people in a landslide in 1963.

The dam is 262m high and 27m thick It is considered on of the worst dam tragedy caused by nature and engineering failure.

The Almendra Dam.
The Almendra Dam.

Almendra Dam, Spain

The Almendra Dam on the River Tormes in Salamanca, Spain is five kilometers from the village Almendra.The dam is used for Hydroelectricity.

Its construction started in 1964 and was completed in 1970. The dam is 202m high and stores 2.5 billion cubic meters of water. It is one of the tallest structures in whole of Spain.

The Three Gorges Dam.
The Three Gorges Dam.
The Itaipu Dam.
The Itaipu Dam.
The Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam.
The Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam.

Three Gorges Dam, China

The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is a hydroelectric dam. It is the world's largest electricity-generating plant. The building of this dam was started in 1994 and completed in 2008.

It is 185m high and 2,335m long with a total power generation capacity of 22,500 MW and water storing capacity of 39.3 km3.

The dam’s cost is about $26 Billion. The dam is considered as an economic and engineering success for China.

Itaipu Dam, Brazil

The Itaipu Dam on the Parana River is a hydroelectric dam located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

The word Itaipu means "the sound of a stone". Its construction started in 1970 and was completed in 1984.

The dam is7,700m and 196m high. The dam’s total power generation is 14,000 MW.

The dams 90% energy is consumed by Paraguay while the remaining 10% is used by Brazil.

Sayano-Shushenskaya, Russia

Sayano–Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station on the Yenisei River is the world’s sixth largest hydroelectric plant.

Its construction was started in 1961 and was opened in 1978.

At 246m of height and 1,066m of length, the dam can carry up to 31.3 cubic km of water. Its total power generation is 6,400 MW.

The power house on this dam has suffered many accidents with the latest being in 2009 when it was closed and opened again in February 2010.

The Aswan Dam.
The Aswan Dam.

The Aswan Dam, Egypt

Although not as tall as many other dams, mentioned above, yet Aswan dam is one of the most famous and historic dams ever built. It is situated on the world's longest river i.e. River Nile.

The Aswan Dam is still one of the largest dams in the world, its history dates back to as early as the 1000s, when first attempts were made to built a dam at this site. However the present day structure started in 1898 and was completed in 1902.

The dam is 3,830 metres long and 980 metres at the base. It can pass up to 11,000 cubic metres of water. Its power generation capacity is up to 2,100 MW.


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    • saif113sb profile image

      saif113sb 5 years ago

      Helpful information to all worlds.

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      Mr. Person 5 years ago

      Thank you for all of this wonderful information.

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      who? 5 years ago

      helpful information

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      ????? 6 years ago

      Thank you, this information is very useful.

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      Anonymous 6 years ago


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      Unknown 6 years ago

      It helped me

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      unknown 6 years ago

      and facts too

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      unknown 6 years ago

      it was very useful.i learnt a lot of useful things.

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      bob 7 years ago

      good job