Dam Demolition Derby: three down, 74,997 to go

The good news about water continues unabated here on Waterblogged.info, your source for water news and information that is all over the map in more ways than one. Seven posts or so, and we’ve already been to Central Asia, Darfur, Iraq, and the Great Lakes of North America.

The good news is about dams. Here (item 5), I pointed out that it turns out that dams aren’t such a great idea after all, although at one time even environmentalists were down with dams, specifically the gigantic hydroelectric variety that seemed to be the perfect source of endless amounts of clean energy.

The environmental impact of large dams are also outlined in this Wikipedia entry. (The entry is tagged for not citing sources, but it’s an accurate summary.) When Rivers Run Dry, by Fred Pearce, has a thorough and thoroughly horrifying section on the devastating effects of large-scale dams and convincing arguments for why we should stop building them. (“We” being the whole world.)

But smaller dams are harmful, too, and there are a hell of a lot of them–about 75,000!–clotting the waterways of the U.S. alone. Most are outdated, damaged, and useless and the good news is that local communities are starting to do something about it. Below is a heartening little video about three U.S. communities that have demolished local dams and thereby brought about what seems like a miraculous rejuvenation of waterways that had been dessicated, depleted of life, and otherwise made ugly and useless by dams. The facts and figures that open the film are fascinating. Well, to me anyway.


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