Movie:Global Dams Development 1800-2010
Information Page: Global Dams Development 1800-2010
|Domain:||terrestrial, environmental controls|
|Model name:||Animation model name|
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Statement: This dataset illustrates the construction of dams and reservoir on rivers worldwide from 1800 to the present.
Abstract: Humans have manipulated rivers for thousands of years, but over the last 200 years dams on rivers have become rampant. Reservoirs and dams are constructed for water storage, to reduce the risk of river flooding, and for the generation of power. They are one of the major footprints of humans on Earth and change the world’s hydrological cycle. This dataset illustrates the construction of dams worldwide from 1800 to the present. We display all dams listed in the Global Reservoir and Dam Database (GRanD). It includes 6,862 records of reservoirs and their associated dams. All dams that have a reservoir with a storage capacity of more than 0.1 cubic kilometers are included, and many smaller dams were added where data were available. The total amount of water stored behind these dams sums to 6,2 km3. The red dots indicate the newly built dams and reservoirs each year, and the yellow dots represent the dams already in place. The dams and reservoirs do not only store water, they also trap the incoming sediment that the river transports. Consequently, much less sand and clay travels to the coast, where it would normally be depositing in the delta region. The reduced sediment load of major rivers has influenced the vulnerability of many deltas worldwide.
Japan built many dams already in the early 19th century. Another early hotspot for dam construction was the US East Coast, where many medium-sized dams were constructed for grain milling and saw mills. In the 20th century, large engineering projects developed dams in more arid regions for drinking water and irrigation water storage, and worldwide for electric power generation. Most recently, large construction projects have been completed in China, including the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.
Reference: Lehner, B., C. Reidy Liermann, C. Revenga, C. Vörösmarty, B. Fekete, P. Crouzet, P. Döll, M. Endejan, K. Frenken, J. Magome, C. Nilsson, J.C. Robertson, R. Rodel, N. Sindorf, and D. Wisser. 2011. High-Resolution Mapping of the World's Reservoirs and Dams for Sustainable River-Flow Management. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9:494-502. DOI: 10.1890/100125.