The Constructor

Major Dams in the World and its Roles

Reading time: 1 minute

Dams are solid barriers constructed across a river or a natural stream to create an artificial reservoir on its upstream side for storing water. It may also be constructed to facilitate diversion of water from the river or to retain debris flowing in the river.

Facts on Dams

Purpose of the Dams

The main purpose of construction of dam is for,
  1. Irrigation
  2. Generation of Electrical Energy
  3. Municipal and Industrial Water Supply
  4. Navigation
  5. Flood Control
  6. Recreation
  7. Diversion
  8. Catching and retaining debris

Major dams in the world and its roles

1. Tailings Dam, River Rimac, Peru

The Antamina Tailings Dam,  is a tailings dam located in Huaraz in the Ancash Region of Peru. The purpose of the dam is to store tailings processed at the nearby Antamina mine. The dam was designed by Golder Associates, Burnaby, B.C. and Ingetec SA between 1998 and 1999. Construction on the 130 m (427 ft) high concrete-face rock-fill starter dam began in 2000 was complete in April 2001. The original elevation of the dam was 4010 m, in 2013 it was raised to 4045 m.

Fig 1: Tailings Dam, River Rimac, Peru


As this dam is locate on the tail of a Antamina mine, its role is to hold all the tailings coming down the mine. The reservoir is lined with a geo membrane which controls seepage of tailings into the environment.

2. Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe

The Kariba Dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The dam stands 128 metres (420 ft) tall and 579 metres (1,900 ft) long. The Kariba Dam supplies 1,626 megawatts (2,181,000 hp) of electricity to parts of both Zambia and Zimbabwe and generates 6,400 gigawatt-hours per annum.

Fig 2: Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe


3.¬†Vajont ‚ÄstErto E Casso, Italy

This dam was touted as ‚ÄėThe Tallest Dam in the World‚Äô while it was being constructed, and it still remains one of the tallest coming it at 860 feet.¬†On 9 October 1963, during initial filling, a massive landslide caused a man-made¬†mega tsunami¬†in the lake in which 50 million cubic metres of water overtopped the dam in a wave 250 metres (820¬†ft) high, leading to 1,910 deaths and the complete destruction of several villages and towns.

Fig 3: Vajont ‚ÄstErto E Casso, Italy

4. Three Gorges Dam - China

The¬†Three Gorges Dam¬†is a¬†hydroelectric¬†gravity dam¬†that spans the¬†Yangtze River¬†by the town of¬†Sandouping,¬†Hubei¬†province,¬†China. The Three Gorges Dam is the¬†world's largest power station¬†in terms of¬†installed capacity¬†(22,500¬†MW). In 2014, the dam generated 98.8¬†terawatt-hours¬†(TWh) and had the world record, but was surpassed by the¬†Itaip√ļ Dam, which set the new world record in 2016, producing 103.1¬†TWh.

Fig 4 : Three Gorges Dam - China


5. The Inguri Dam ‚Äď Jvari, Georgia

Fig 5: The Inguri Dam ‚Äď Jvari, Georgia

The Enguri Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Enguri River in Georgia. Currently it is the world's second highest concrete arch damwith a height of 271.5 metres (891 ft). It is located north of the town Jvari. It is part of the Enguri hydroelectric power station (HES) which is partially located in Abkhazia.


6. Itaipu Dam in Brazil

Itaipu Hydroelectric Dam is the largest operational hydroelectric energy producer in the world, with an installed generation capacity of 14GW. The plant is operated by Itaipu Binacional and located on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. Energy generated by Itaipu helps meet demands from the two countries. About 90% of the energy generated by the plant is used by Brazil.

Fig 6: Itaipu Dam in Brazil


Exit mobile version