how do dams work?

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Literally how do dams work? Also why? Didn’t we exist without them or why do we need them? Also when the damn is not open, how come the river side doesn’t like dry up because it’s not flowing? Idk if that makes sense.

In: Engineering

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

They’re really straightforward how they work: they block the water, and they can open up to let more water through. It’s an idea so simple that beavers figured it out, and we’ve been doing it for literally thousands of years.

We started doing it to better regulate river flow, usually for agriculture. The key concept is that they usually slow down water flow. That means the water sticks around longer and we can use it for stuff like agriculture or drinking. If there’s floods, we can open it. These days, one big use is hydroelectric power (the water that does flow is forced to spin an electric generator).

The river side *does* dry up when we block the water. Most dams cause the river they feed into to shrink. We usually only do it when we want it to happen, although in general there’s a negative environmental impact.

Anonymous 0 Comments

For a dam to make sense, there needs to be a source of water like a river or creek. Without water, it would just be a wall.

Build a wall inside that river and across it. That pools up the water behind that wall until it rises and spills over. This wall is the dam.

The water on the other side CAN dry up but most of the time, the dams are built with pipes (gates) which allow the dam operator to release a steady stream of water. As long as the river supplying the water and the release from the gates are equal, the water level behind the dam remains constant and there will still be water down stream.