Dams - blessing and curse?
- Over one billion people do not have access to safe drinking water
- More than double that number lack basic sanitation
- Two billion people have no access to electricity.
To meet the demand for water and energy, more large dams are being proposed as a key solution.For a time, dam building slowed, as decision-makers learned of their harmful impacts. But in recent years, the number of new dam proposals has skyrocketed.
While WWF believes that some new hydropower is inevitable in the fight against climate change, many currently proposed dams raise the question:
Will dams really bring benefits to those whose needs are greatest?Too often, the benefits of dams come at great environmental and social costs. Dams can destroy ecosystems and cause people to lose their homes and livelihoods.
The WWF report, Rivers at Risk, identifies the top 21 rivers at risk from dams being planned or under construction.It shows that over 60% of the world's 227 largest rivers have been fragmented by dams. This has led to:
- the destruction of wetlands
- a decline in freshwater species - including river dolphins, fish, and birds
- the forced displacement of tens of millions of people.