Damming the world
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Revenga et al., World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington DC, 2000.
Uploaded 16 Feb 2012
Phillippe Rekacewicz, February 2006
The construction of large dams - defined as those with walls at least 15 metres high - has increased significantly over the past 50 years. The average height of new dams, estimated at 30-34 m from 1940-1990, increased to about 45 m in the 1990s, due largely to construction trends in Asia. The average area and volume of freshwater reservoirs have also steadily increased, rising to about 50 km2 between 1945 and1970, declining through the 1980s to 17 km2, and increasing again in the 1990s to about 23 km2 (WCD, 2000). By 1997 there were more than 45,000 large dams worldwide, 22,100 of them in China. Other nations with many large dams include the United States (with 6,390 large dams), India (with more than 4,000), and Spain and Japan (with 1,000-1,200 each) (WCD, 2000).
The countries with the greatest number of large dams under construction, in order of significance, are: Turkey, China, Japan, Iraq, Iran, Greece, Romania and Spain, and countries in the Parana basin in South America. Th ...