Dams could sustainably feed 1.15 billion people, but as a last resort

A recent study highlighted the crucial role dams could play in securing long-term food security. IE discovers more in an exclusive interview with one of the researchers.
Sade Agard
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Lower Monumental Dam in Washington on the Snake River


  • Dams provide an energy resource that constitutes most of the world's renewable energy. A new Stanford study demonstrates they can be part of a sustainable agricultural future.
  • Storage-fed irrigation through could feed approximately 1.15 billion people - and there's more potential.
  • With hydropower being crucial in decarbonizing electricity grids, diverting dams' water potential to irrigation will have its challenges.

Dams are engineering masterpieces that supply energy to millions of people worldwide.

Take the U.S. federal dams of the Columbia River Basin located in the Pacific Northwest, for example, which generate 8.664 megawatts of electricity annually. Through hydropower, the dams supply enough energy to power 4,938,480 typical homes or almost eight Seattle-sized cities.

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