Third World Centre for Water Management

Communications

Is the global debate on dams relevant?

Asit K. Biswas

Asian Water | Volume 20 | Number 2 | March, 2004

Construction of large dams has been a controversial issue in recent years. Proponents of large dams claim that they deliver many benefits, among which are increased water availability for domestic and industrial purposes, increased agricultural production because of the availability of reliable irrigation water, protection from floods and droughts, generation of hydroelectric power, navigation, and overall regional development which improves the quality of life of the people, including women. They argue that like any other large infrastructure development or national policy, dams have both benefits and costs. However, overall benefits of the dams far outweigh their total costs, and thus the society as a whole is far better off with the dams.

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