The Effects of Dam Construction on the Environment, A Literature Review

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Literature Review Many developed and developing countries worldwide depend on hydroelectric dams as a major source of their electricity power. Due to increase in population size and economic related activities, the demand for more electricity continues to rise (International Energy Agency, 2006). To meet such demand, government and energy providers in many developing countries are likely to turn to hydroelectric dams as a promising source of renewable electric power (Ledec & Quintero, 2003). Dam construction has its effects towards the surrounding areas. The environmental impacts may include the flooding of the natural habitats, loss of terrestrial wildlife, deterioration of water quality due to the reduced oxygenation and dilution of pollutants, spreading water-related diseases, drop in water’s level including involuntary displacement just to name a few (Ledec & Quintero, 2003). McDowell, too, argues that involuntary population displacement or transfers may lead to irreversible social and cultural impoverishment (McDowell, 1996). Forced population displacement may lead to eight forms of impoverishment: unemployment, homelessness, landlessness, marginalization, food insecurity, loss of access to common property, erosion of health status and social disarticulation (Cernea, 1990). In identifying the potential adverse environmental, social and economic impact and increased positive outcomes related to hydropower development appropriate initiatives are normally taken into
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