Dams: from problem to solution for cultivated fields


Dams could turn from an environmental problem into a solution for irrigating crops all over the world, or at least in part. If they were used to store water , they could provide enough resources to irrigate crops to feed 641 million people.

This is according to a study published in the journal of the American National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS ) and conducted by the University of Stanford. The research underlines that these can be at least partially the solution and advises against the construction of new structures due to the negative impact they have on river ecosystems.

Rafael Schmitt and the group of researchers analyzed the amount of fresh water in surface and groundwater bodies generated and renewed by natural cycles and the water needs of agricultural land. If the 3,700 mapped dams were used to irrigate fields , it is estimated that they could provide enough water to feed 641 million people .

However, the researchers warn against relying completely on them to solve the problem. This is because dams have a high environmental impact and the method would require high costs due to the need to convey the water to distant agricultural fields. Alternative solutions are to have small dams capable of collecting water or recharging groundwater systems with excess surface water. The demand for water, according to the researchers, can be reduced through better irrigation techniques or less water-intensive crops .

  • Dams, from problem to solution to quench the thirst of cultivated fields (


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