Advantages of Dams

Advantages of Dams

Dams serve a variety of functions and provide numerous benefits to local areas and industry. They are primarily used to store water, control flooding and generate electricity. Many dams serve to store water to function as standing lakes. In general, dams provide various advantages for communities but still other disadvantages.

In general, dams are important structures that are constructed for the purpose of water storage. The water held by dams, generally from a channel, can later be used for generating electricity and used for irrigation purposes. Dams are also critical in flood control. 

How Are Dams Constructed?

One of the most well known dams, Hoover Dam, was constructed to provide irrigation water to local communities as well as to control floods and generate hydroelectricity. The federal government authorized construction of Hoover Dam, which spans 30 miles across the Nevada-Arizona border. Its large structure depicts the various advantages that dams have for local areas. 

A dam is a structure commonly built across a river or stream to create a large reservoir behind it. There are various types of dam spillways and operational dam gates that help control the flow of water.

With dam engineering there are different categories to consider for construction including structural type, usage and materials required. Construction of dams is complex. Dam projects require substantial labor, materials, and other resources. Knowing how dams work can provide clarity to how they’re constructed. Steps take to build dams include:

  • Building up an area to help divert water in order to properly create structure. Engineers usually implement tunneling systems to help in diverting water from existing rivers.
  • Creating a foundation is the next step in construction of dams. Cofferdams are one type of dam that can help in the layout of the structure. 
  • Assembling the overall structure of the dam is next. During this process, dam construction contractors ensure there is no loose rock on the riverbed, then work to build a plinth. This keeps water from leaking from the ledges of the dam. Majority of dams use reinforcements with concrete steel to protect against water flow. 
  • Once a dam has been fully constructed, dam contractors will fill the reservoir. During this process, testing of flood gates is critical.

advantages and benefits of dams

Advantages of Dams

Dams are advantageous in many ways. In engineering, dams function to store vast amounts of water in flooding and even for recreational purposes. 

Many other factors to consider when weighing the advantages of dams include: improved health and life by supplying clean water, improved quality of sanitation, increased food (crop & fish) production, irrigation supply, protection of lives and goods from flooding, generation of electricity, tailings of mines and controlling the debris as well as the recreation and environmental benefits of the reservoirs. 

Why Are Dams Advantageous?

As a water source, dams have many advantages and applications. The application of dams can include cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing, drinking water, farming and for other cultivation purposes.

When there’s excess flow of water, dams help by storing water in reservoirs. Dams also function to release water during times of low flow when natural streams are inadequate to meet demands. All purposes are kept in mind when constructing dams. Some functions of dams can include:


Dams help crops and plants through evapotranspiration. With large quantities of water stored in dams, they can be easily used for irrigation. This helps communities plan farming and nurturing crops accordingly, further enhancing food supply.

Some examples of dams used for irrigation include Burrinjuck Dam in Australia. 

Drinking Water

A portion of water storage in dams and reservoirs is supplied for drinking, municipal and industrial purposes. After water treatment, it can be used for drinking. This can help ensure that people are drinking pure water, preventing diseases like cholera. 

An example dam used for drinking water supply is also in Australia known as Warragamba

Electrical Generation

One of the staples of dams and major industry advantages is dam usage in hydropower and electrical generation. There are several environmental advantages of hydroelectric power including its flexibility, affordability, and the perks of being a renewable resource.

Once constructed, a dam can generate constant electricity. There’s no fuel requirements to produce this electricity. Dams used in hydropower also last longer than thermal power plants. The resource is renewable given that it can be used repeatedly downstream for power generation. Hydropower can be stored or diverted and is one of the most eco-friendly means of producing power. One example of this is the 103,800 megawatts of electricity produced by dams in the United States alone. Itaipu Dam is a hydropower site in Brazil with one of the world’s largest productions of power. 

Use In Flood Control

As mentioned previously, during flood seasons, dams can be used to control the flow of water by either reducing floods to help manage wash aways. It can also reduce congestion of water.

In the United States, flood zones in Tennessee, southern Ohio, and the lower Mississippi Rivers are controlled by Tennessee Valley Authority dams.  

dam environmental advantages

Water Storage

Reservoirs have many beneficial features including the most pronounced of being a source of water storage. Upstream water ponds can be used for fish farms, further reducing damage to fish habitats during dam construction

Environmentally Friendly

One of the major advantages of dams is their eco-friendly features. Because dams use a renewable resource, they help to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. Additionally, tailing dams help protect the environment from toxic mining wastes. 

Recreational Purposes

Dams can also serve as a recreational activity. Several dams throughout the United States are known to provide an area for boating, skiing, campaign, picnics, and boat launches. 

major benefits of dams

Dam Construction with Gracon LLC

Dams are classified according to the type of construction material being used, the slope or cross-section of the dam, and the way the dam resists the forces of the water pressure behind it, the means used for controlling seepage, and what the dam’s purpose may be. There are various types of dams to consider and the advantages of each. 

Gracon LLC are dam experts in construction, maintenance and rehabilitation. We work to ensure that each dam project is given the opportunity to capitalize on the advantages of dams listed above, plus numerous others. For more information on our dam construction and processes contact us today.