Exploring The Number of Dams That Can Be Built on One River

What criteria limit the amount of dams that can be built over a single river?
Loukia Papadopoulos

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If the topic of dams seems familiar, it's because we have done several articles on these beasts of engineering. From the mystical way they operate to the world's largest dams, we have written quite a bit about these massive structures.

Now, we seek to tackle another dam-related question: how many dams can be built over one river? Did you know that the Columbia River, and its tributaries, hold the record for the most dams at 60?

What allows this unique river to hold that many dams and why aren't there more like it? Engineers building dams have to look at very specific criteria such as the topography and inflow of the catchment area, the morphology of river valleys, and more.

They must also make sure that the structure will not destroy any nature reserves, towns, or places of historical, cultural, or ecological importance. Engineers must consider how their dams will impact rivers as many aquatic organisms depend on steady water flows to survive.

Stagnation in water movement can interfere with and disorient organisms and destroy the natural growth and reproduction cycles of both plants and animals. The consequences of this can be quite severe.

So how do you build a large number of dams safely and what is the limit of dams that can be built? Watch our video to find out. 

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