Water resources development is an essential component for further improvement in the life style of the people of the third world. Community water supply is a basic necessity, but water is necessary to improve agricultural yields, increase hydroelectric power generation and for further industrial development. Water resources projects invariably change river and ecosystems regimes, some of which are adverse. Hence, the real question is not whether such changes will have social and environmental impacts, but rather how much changes is acceptable to society and how can the adverse change be kept to a minimum. The changes can be broadly divided into three major subsystems—physical, biological and human. Within this general framework, environmental implications of water developments in the developing countries are considered, with concrete examples of such changes from different parts of the world. Special mention is made of the Aswan Dam on the Nile.
By Asit K. Biswas, 1980. Article published in Journal of the Water Resources and Planning and Management Division, Volume 106, Number 1, pages 319-332. DOI: 10.1061/JWRDDC.0000144