The Global View of Dam Removal
For those of us now being saddled with the costs of years of unquestioned dam–building, it would be unconscionable to remain silent.
– Dan Beard
Commissioner of the US Bureau of Reclamation (1993 – 1995)
Once revered as temples of engineering prowess, dams are now viewed more critically. Dams devastate river ecosystems and undermine the rights and livelihoods of affected communities. Increased international recognition of the high environmental and social costs of dams, along with numerous river restoration successes, are inspiring dam removal campaigns worldwide.
Numerous dams are now slated or proposed for removal. Many have simply outlived their purpose or sit abandoned, posing a danger to public safety. Other dams continue to operate, though with significant environmental and social consequences. Over a dam’s lifespan, costs borne by damaged ecosystems and communities may outweigh other project benefits. With dam removal already outpacing dam construction in the US, decommissioning has significant implications for global river management.
Around the world, the message is spreading –
dams are NOT forever. Let’s bring our rivers back!