Difference Between Dam and Reservoir

Dams and reservoirs are best made to help people with the supply of artificially produced functional water, which is used for various purposes. 

Several dams and lakes around the world have greatly affected the lives of the people who live around these natural features. 

However, it is important to emphasize that many people cannot tell the difference between a dam and a reservoir. 

The script focuses on demonstrating the significant differences between dams and reservoirs.

What is a dam?

A dam is a structural barrier constructed across a river or valley to ensure that the flow of water is prevented. This causes the water to accumulate behind the walls and then only overflow after reaching a certain height of the dam. 

Some of the world's major dams have acted as barriers to various rivers and valleys across the globe, including the Daniel Johnson Dam in Canada, the Robert Bourassa Dam in Canada, the Guri Dam in Venezuela, the Bratsk Dam, and the Kariba Dam in Russia. Zimbabwe and more.

What is a reservoir?

Reservoirs are large bodies of water that form behind walls that span rivers or large valleys. In some cases, reservoirs store large amounts of water to form artificial lakes. 

Some of the major reservoirs in the world include Bratsk Reservoir behind the Bratsk Dam in Russia, Volta Lake behind the Akosombo Dam, and Guri Lake behind the Guri Dam.

Difference Between Dam and Reservoir

1. The appearance of the dam and reservoir

One of the main differences between dams and reservoirs is their physical differences, depending on how they are defined. A dam looks like a wall built across a river or valley, ensuring that water forms behind the built wall. 

Therefore, it is clear that the dam was mainly constructed by using concrete mixed with water and reinforced with steel to prevent water from passing through while allowing water to overflow once it accumulated to a certain height. 

Reservoirs, on the other hand, are water that is stored behind artificially constructed dams that sometimes become the largest lakes in the world.

2. Ecological Impact of Dams and Reservoirs

Another difference between dams and reservoirs is their impact on the ecology of the area where they are built. The ecological impact of building dams and reservoirs in an area is unwelcome and mostly rejected by locals and other environmental protection agencies. 

The construction of dams disrupts the life of aquatic organisms such as fish, which are hindered by rivers that hinder and migrate from one place to another. 

In addition, blocking the flow of water changes the oxygen levels, making the water-living organisms hostile. 

On the other hand, the development of reservoirs leads to the displacement of people, moving them from one place to another, which distracts people's social order and cultural practices.

3. Use of Dams and Reservoirs

Another major difference between dams and reservoirs is their purpose. Dams are used to create a reliable supply of electricity around industries such as hydroelectric power, so people station power and thus improve people's living standards. 

On the other hand, the reservoirs behind the dams are crucial as they can provide enough water for consumption while the excess water can be used for agricultural purposes. 

It must be emphasized that most of the dams and reservoirs built around the world have been providing enough electricity and water for people living in cities for consumption and agricultural use. 

Therefore, it is important to stress that although dams and reservoirs are controversial projects, they have a significant impact on the economic state of a region.

4. Transportation and Tourist Attractions

Also, dams and reservoirs function differently within the region where they are located. Many people have been using dams because they facilitate the movement of people from one area to another. 

Notably, the reservoir has accumulated a lot of water, which can accommodate cruise ships and cargo ships. These bodies of water provide efficient transportation for people in the region, reducing road congestion and environmental pollution. 

On the other hand, dams are tourist attractions. Many people traveled to different countries and witnessed the large dams built by humans, which amazed them with the power and ability of humans at the time of construction.

The table shows the difference between dam and reservoir

difference-between-dam-and-reservoir

Overview of Dams and Reservoirs

  • Dams and reservoirs are impressive features designed to improve the prevailing conditions in certain areas.
  • Many parts of the world lack essential water for humans and animals. In addition, other regions lack water for agricultural production due to drought and a general lack of rain. Dams and reservoirs are built in these areas to provide water for human and animal consumption and agricultural production.
  • The construction of hydroelectric power in dams is an important aspect as it contributes to the general development of a particular area. For production purposes, a sufficiently cheap supply of electricity is provided to the industry.
  • However, the construction of dams and reservoirs has its drawbacks, as they disturb the aquatic environment, making it difficult for marine life to survive, while at the same time leading to the displacement of large numbers of people.
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