Magazine article Geographical

Silt Threat to Dams. (Global)

Magazine article Geographical

Silt Threat to Dams. (Global)

Article excerpt

The build-up of silt behind many of the world's dams means reservoirs are losing their capacity to hold water, says the United Nations.

On average, reservoirs are losing one per cent of their capacity every year, cutting into the estimated 6,815 cubic kilometres that is being held by dams worldwide. Unless urgent action is taken, a fifth of this may be gradually lost over the coming decades.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a Dams Development Project, with secured funding of over US$2.5million (1.7million [pounds sterling]), to highlight and combat the build-up of silt, which is exacerbated by increased runoff from deforestation. How land is used around reservoirs is a critical contributory factor to the problem.

"The loss of capacity of the world's dams should be of highest concern for governments across the globe," said Rodney White, author of Evacuation of Sediments from Reservoirs. …

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