A cursory look at the literature outside of most engineering shows that, contrary to the hype produced by promoters of large dam and reservoir projects, these projects have serious ecological, social and even estuarine oceanographic effects. Regardless of where they are built these effects are pretty much predictable. This is because aquatic science and anthropology respect no political boundaries.

Whether the dams are built on Cree territory surrounding Hudson Bay or on rivers draining into Russia's Caspian, Black, and Aral Seas or on rivers draining into the US's Pacific west coast or in India or SE-Asia -> ecological, geological, oceanological and social constraints, not to mention economic, are still in effect.

So when you read thse pages, be aware that despite what promoters say, the academic literature belies that dams and reservoirs are purely benign. They have serious effects including earthquakes, coastal fisheries impacts, mercury pollution of food chains, destruction of local subsitance economies, loss of valuable fisheries and local extinctions, to mention but a few.

Politicians and large-scale water development promoters try to paint the concerns of scientists and academics who study dam impacts as the work of a few nutty environmentalists who don't live in the real world. But no matter how much they'd like to ignore the real world impacts of these projects, reservoirs are not without severe repercussions.

Wake up ICOLD and E-7: this *is* the real world.

(last update Sept. 1, 2004 by cdm)