Dams offer a great source of water. They further offer a great feature to the beauty of the universe alongside being home to some of the best water species. Purposes for which dams are used vary widely with power production being a leading factor.
This is alongside being used to preserve water and provide water for other basic requirements in harsh times. Dams are either natural or manmade but they all serve the same purpose. Natural dams are a result of nature and most of them have been in existence since time immemorial. Manmade dams are created by the act of humans with intent to create a source of water of a source for other essential needs such as production of hydroelectric power.
Here is a list of the top 10 biggest dams in the world in 2017-2018
1. Kariba Dam
Found in Zimbabwe, Africa, Kariba Dam is the leading water storage facility on the globe. The dam forms Lake Kariba with a full capacity of 185 billion cubic meters of water. The lake covers an estimated 5,580km2 with dimensions of 280km in length and 32km width. The dam spans a length of 617m and is 128m high. The main purpose of the dam is power production contributing of over 60% o f the electric power used in Zimbabwe and Zambia. It also has a special construction design to avert floods estimated to have a lifespan of 10,000 years. Construction of the dam was completed in 1959 where an estimated 1.036 million cubic meters of concrete were used.
2. Bratsk Dam
Found in Siberia, Russia, Bratsk Dam is the world’s second largest in terms of capacity. The dam is found along the Angara River. Its construction was completed in 1964 with a primary responsibility of power production. The reservoir created by the dam cover an area of estimated 5,540km2 and has a capacity to hold 169.27 billion cubic meters of water. The dam spans in length of 1,452m with a height of 125m.
3. Akosombo Dam
Akosombo Dam is found in Ghana and the world’s third largest in terms of capacity. The dam lies along Volta River and forms the Lake Volta. The Lake covers an estimated 8,500km2 making it the biggest on the globe in terms of surface area. It has capacity to store 144 billion cubic meters of water. The dam spans in length measuring 700m and has a height of 134m. construction of the dam was completed in 1966 with a primary function to produce electric power. The dam however also serves the local community as a source of livelihood where activities such as fishing take place.
4. Daniel Johnson Dam
Found in Canada, Daniel Johnson Dam is the world’s fourth largest lake. The dam is otherwise known as Manic 5 dam and is constructed along the Manicouagan River. Daniel Johnson dam forms the Manicouagan reservoir with a capacity to hold 139.8 billion cubic liters of water. The dam spans a total of 1,310 meters and with a height of 213.19m featuring 13 arches and 14 buttresses. An approximated 2.2 million cubic meters of concrete was used in its construction. Construction of the dam was completed in 1968 and it’s mainly used for power production being home to two power production plants.
5. Guri Dam
Guri Dam is found in Venezuela and forms the Guri Lake. It is the world’s fifth largest dam today with a capacity to hold 135 billion cubic meters of water. Guri Lake covers an estimated 4,000km2 with the dam spanning 1,300m in length with a height of 16m. construction of the dam was done in two phases that were completed in 1986. The dam’s main purpose is electricity production where it provides over 70% to the total Venezuela’s electricity needs. Currently the dam is under a modernization program to enhance its power production as well as serving other needs of the country.
6. Aswan High Dam
The world’s sixth largest dam is Aswan High Dam found in Egypt, Africa. The Dam is situated along River Nile one of the largest rivers in the continent. The dam creates Lake Nassir and has a capacity to handle 132 billion cubic meters of water. The dam spans in length measuring 3,830m and a height of 980m. Construction of the dam took place between 1960 and 1968 with at an estimated cost of over $1 billion. The dam is used for varying purposes among the m production of hydroelectric power, controlling of floods and irrigation.
7. W.A.C. Bennett Dam
Located in British Columbia, Canada, W.A.C Bennett Dam is constructed along Peace River. The dam creates the world’s famous Williston Lake with a capacity to hold 74 billion cubic meters of water. It covers an area of 1,773km2 with its length measuring that 2,068m and 183m in height. Construction of the dam started in 1961 and completion was on 1967. The major purpose of the dam is power production owned by B.C. Hydro. The first power generating plant at the dam commenced activity in 1968 only one year after completion of the dam.
8. Krasnoyarsk Dam
Being the world’s eighth biggest dam, Krasnoyarsk is found in Russia and built along Yenisey River. The dam hosts the Krasnoyarskoye Reservoir with a capacity to store 73.3 billion cubic meters of water. The water held by the reservoir covers an approximately 2,000 km2 and has a shoreline estimated at 1,560km. the dams spans in length at 1,065m with a height of 124m. the dam construction was completed in 1972 and features a flood discharge with a capacity of 20,400m3 per second. A total of 12-power production unit are constructed on the dam whereas the water is used for irrigation purposes.
9. Zeya Dam
Zeya Dan is found in Russia on its northern border with china. The dam was built along the Zeya River in the Amur Oblast. The dam’s storage capacity stands at 68.42 billion cubic meters of water and covers an area approximated at 2,419 km2. 2.067 million cubic meters of concrete were used in construction of the dam that measures in length of 714.2 meters and a height of 112 meters. Construction of the dam was completed in 1975 and is home to six power-generating plants owned by RusHydro. The world’s first adjustable blade diagonal turbines were installed at this dam.
10. Robert Bourassa Dam
Robert Bourassa dam is located in northern Quebec, Canada. The dam impounds La Grande River and is home to the Robert Bourassa Reservoir. It stands as the worlds 10th largest dam today storing approximately 61.7 billion cubic meters of water. The dam covers a surface area of 2,815 km2 with an embankment that is 2,835 meters in length and 162m high. The dam was constructed in the period between 1974 and 1981 and serves as a power production plant.
Majority of the dams across the globe are created with the main purpose to offer hydroelectric power production. Water supply, fishing and aversion of calamities such as floods are other purposes served by the dams. This means that dams are important constructions in any part of the globe whose contribution to humankind is immeasurable. Being man-made, dams require constant surveillance and maintenance to ensure they serve the intended purpose. The top 10 biggest dams in the list serve only a portion of these worthwhile resources whose impact continues to be enjoyed by generations across the world.