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Articles on Dams

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Afghan security forces stand guard on a roadside in Herat on Aug. 12, 2021, as the Taliban seized the city. AFP via Getty Images

Taliban seize Herat and assault nearby dam that provides water and power to hundreds of thousands of Afghans

Herat is home to an India-built dam that provides water for drinking, irrigation and bathing for much of western Afghanistan. If the Taliban control that water, they control the population.
The Caban Coch dam, in Wales’ Elan Valley, is just one of the estimated 1.2 million river barriers in Europe. Sara Barrento/Nature

Europe’s natural waterways: death by a million cuts

New research published in the journal Nature reveals that more than 1.2 million flow barriers exist on European rivers and that approximately 10% are obsolete.
Canada’s budgeting process needs to regard vaccination programs, to name just one example, the same way it regards investments in physical infrastructure like bridges and highways. (CDC/Unsplash)

The coronavirus shows we should treat public health the same as public works

Canada needs to reform budgeting and reporting methods to recognize the true underlying nature and value of expenditures on social infrastructure.
Maine’s Penobscot River flows freely where the Veazie Dam once stood. Dam removals have reopened the river to 12 native fish species. Gregory Rec/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

When dams cause more problems than they solve, removing them can pay off for people and nature

Thousands of dams across the US are aging and overdue for maintenance. Taking them down can revive rivers, restore fish runs and create new opportunities for tourism and outdoor activities.
The January 2019 collapse of a dam in Brumadinho, Brazil, sent mining tailings and mud over the landscape for miles, destroying this bridge and killing 300 people. Andre Penner/AP

Mine waste dams threaten the environment, even when they don’t fail

Dams built to hold enormous quantities of toxic mining waste have a long history of spills. Decisions in the Pacific Northwest threaten three free-flowing rivers there.
Waters from the Herbert River, which runs toward one of northern Australia’s richest agricultural districts, could be redirected under a Bradfield scheme. Patrick White

‘New Bradfield’: rerouting rivers to recapture a pioneering spirit

The ‘New Bradfield’ scheme seeks to revive a nation-building ethos supposedly stifled by bureaucratic inertia. But there are good reasons the scheme never became a reality.

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