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Population, water, food, energy and dams


  • Chen, Ji
  • Shi, Haiyun
  • Sivakumar, Bellie
  • Peart, Mervyn R.


Should the construction of large dams continue? This question has raised an enormous amount of controversy in recent years, in terms of both socio-economic development and environmental sustainability. This paper addresses this question through a study of some key global socio-economic data (population and water, food, and energy consumption) and the vital role of large dams in sustaining societies. The analysis indicates that construction of large dams has essentially been the result of population growth and the associated consequence of increased consumption of water, food and energy. With population projections indicating continued growth in the future (especially in the developing and least developed countries), dam construction should be considered in order to meet future water demands, and it is time that human beings think more about how to better construct, operate and maintain dams and reduce their negative impacts.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Ji & Shi, Haiyun & Sivakumar, Bellie & Peart, Mervyn R., 2016. "Population, water, food, energy and dams," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 18-28.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:56:y:2016:i:c:p:18-28
    DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2015.11.043

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Molden, David & Frenken, K. & Barker, R. & de Fraiture, Charlotte & Mati, Bancy & Svendsen, M. & Sadoff, Claudia W. & Finlayson, Max & Atapattu, Sithara & Giordano, Mark & Inocencio, Arlene & Lannerst, 2007. "Trends in water and agricultural development," IWMI Books, Reports H040195, International Water Management Institute.
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    3. Ralph Lasage & Jeroen Aerts & Peter Verburg & Alemu Sileshi, 2015. "The role of small scale sand dams in securing water supply under climate change in Ethiopia," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 317-339, February.
    4. Darmawi, & Sipahutar, Riman & Bernas, Siti Masreah & Imanuddin, Momon Sodik, 2013. "Renewable energy and hydropower utilization tendency worldwide," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 213-215.
    5. World Bank, 2009. "Where Were the Directors?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11127, The World Bank.
    6. Molden, David & Oweis, T. Y. & Pasquale, S. & Kijne, Jacob W. & Hanjra, M. A. & Bindraban, P. S. & Bouman, Bas A. M. & Cook, S. & Erenstein, O. & Farahani, H. & Hachum, A. & Hoogeveen, J. & Mahoo, Hen, 2007. "Pathways for increasing agricultural water productivity," Book Chapters, International Water Management Institute.
    7. Sternberg, R., 2008. "Hydropower: Dimensions of social and environmental coexistence," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 1588-1621, August.
    8. Wu, Yiping & Chen, Ji, 2013. "Estimating irrigation water demand using an improved method and optimizing reservoir operation for water supply and hydropower generation: A case study of the Xinfengjiang reservoir in southern China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 110-121.
    9. anonymous, 2009. "Atlanta Fed and branches announce new directors," Financial Update, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    10. Kumar, Deepak & Katoch, S.S., 2014. "Sustainability indicators for run of the river (RoR) hydropower projects in hydro rich regions of India," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 101-108.
    11. Molle, Francois & Wester, P. & Hirsch, P. & Jensen, J. R. & Murray-Rust, H. & Paranjpye, V. & Pollard, S. & van der Zaag, P., 2007. "River basin development and management," IWMI Books, Reports H040208, International Water Management Institute.
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    1. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:990-1016 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:2967-2975 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:687-700 is not listed on IDEAS


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