Added on: 2nd Sep 2014
THREE GORGES DAM
Sandouping, China–Yangtze River.
China's Three Gorges Dam is not only the world's largest
hydroelectric dam, it's also the world's single largest
source of electricity. The structure's estimated life is as
short as 70 years; that was deemed long enough to
justify the displacement of 1.24 million people.
On the border of Brazil and Paraguay–Parana River.
The Itaipu Dam, a partnership between Brazil
and Paraguay, generated over 90,000 gigawatt
hours of power in 2000—then a world record for
hydroelectric generation. With a height of more than
196 meters, the dam stands as tall as a 65-story
building. Its construction used enough steel to
build 380 Eiffel Towers, along with 12.3 million
cubic meters of concrete.
Where: Bolivar State, Venezuela–Caroni River.
The Guri Dam in Venezuela not only boasts sky-high
walls and powerful generators, it also has artistic flair.
Artist Carlos Cruz Diez decorated one of the plant's
machine rooms in mind-bending pattern of colourful
vertical bars, while Alejandro Otero built an enormous
rotating kinetic sculpture nearby. The dam produces the
energy equivalent of approximately 300,000 barrels
of oil per day.
GRAND COULEE DAM
Grand Coulee, Washington–Columbia River.
Washington state's Grand Coulee Dam is the largest in
the United States. Nearly a mile long and 503 meters wide,
its base area is large enough to hold all the pyramids of
Giza. At 115 meters high, the dam is more than twice the
height of Niagara Falls.
Khakassia, Russia–Yenisei River.
Russia's Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam may not hold any
records for its electricity generation, but other dams are
no match for its sheer strength—the structure's stated
ability to withstand 8.0-magnitude earthquakes has earned it
a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Divnogorsk, Russia–Yenisey River.
Although the Krasnoyarsk dam has operated without
the notoriety of its Russian neighbour, this concrete
gravity dam has troubles of its own. The plant and its
reservoir have apparently wrought changes on the local
climate, causing the area to experience warmer and more
humid weather conditions than the norm, and
reducing ice cover in the area, which is in Siberia.
Where: Quebec, Canada–La Grande River.
Situated over Canada's La Grande River, the
Robert-Bourassa dam reaches 140 meters below the surface,
making it the world's largest underground plant. The dam's
centre piece is a unique "giant's staircase"—each step is the
size of two football fields—that sweeps water downward.
Since 1995, Kenya has constructed more than 500
sand dams, which are usually about 50 meters long
and 2 to 4 meters high. Unlike larger dams, which
usually are used for hydroelectric power, these
smaller structures are designed to store water during
the wet season so dry communities have a water reservoir
when the rain stops. These dams, which store water buried in silt,
do a better job than surface water dams of keeping water from
evaporating and maintaining water quality.
REDRIDGE STEEL DAM
Redridge, Michigan–Salmon Trout River.
Located in Houghton County, Mich., this flat slab buttress
dam is one of only three steel dams in the United States.
Built in 1894, the dam's spillway broke in 1941 and
was partially repaired in 2001.