Dam Solutions

Options assessments, easing pressures, and standards

Dams can play an important role in supporting the economic development of a country and its people. The key to their environmental and social sustainability is to explore all possible options and consider the entire basin.


Is the dam necessary?

Once an urgent need for more electricity, irrigation water, or other service has been demonstrated, an options assessment can show whether a large dam is the best alternative. If it is, the assessment will outline how to move forward in a way that is economically, socially, and environmentally acceptable.

Easing pressures

People look to dams for a variety of reasons: public water supply, energy, irrigation, and flood control. But there are many ways to ease the pressures for a dam by examining our current behaviors.

Changing agricultural practices can have a significant impact on water consumption. Generating energy through alternative sources or by upgrading existing hydropower facilities may provide more overall benefit. Nature can turn out to be better at flood management than any dam could be.


Standards and best practices

Increasingly, there are attempts by dam builders and investors to ensure that dams are built in a more sustainable way. WWF is partnering with banks, industry, and other NGOs to develop and promote environmental standards and best practices for dams.
 / ©: WWF Mexico / Jenny Zapata
The bright side: solutions exist for the problems caused by dams.
© WWF Mexico / Jenny Zapata

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