Third World Centre for Water Management

Communications

Impacts of Large Dams

Cecilia Tortajada and Asit K. Biswas

Global-is-Asian | Issue 14 | April-June 2012

Governments and private sector companies have constructed hundreds of large dams all over the world in recent decades, often with the support of international organisations such as the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. Before construction of any such dam can proceed, it is mandatory to analyse their social and environmental impacts. While thousands of such reports are available at present, it should be noted that such pre-construction reports are at best reasonable forecasts. Unfortunately, the number of large dams anywhere in the world where the social, economic and environmental benefits and costs that have been comprehensively and objectively, even 10-15 years after their constructon, is too few for the data to be meaningful.

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