Dams: Flood prevention heroes saving billions

Harnessing dams for flood prevention holds the potential to save up to $96 billion, benefitting 660 million people living in flood-prone urban regions, according to a new study

Dams as flood prevention could result in savings of up to $96 billion (£74,4bn).

According to a recent report by the International Hydropower Association (IHA), an estimated 660 million individuals reside in urban regions at risk of river flooding.

Beyond their conventional hydroelectricity generation, dams serve as multi-purpose reservoirs, providing critical support for domestic and industrial water supply, irrigation systems, recreation and fishing.

Hydropower reservoirs serve three key purposes, with flood control being one of the prominent functions, comprising nearly half of the total installed capacity.

The report underscores the effectiveness of mitigating flood impacts through a dual approach of maximising electricity generation and strategically reducing reservoir levels ahead of the flood season, significantly minimising the severity of potential floods.

The IHA’s report reveals how dams play an important role in reducing GDP losses caused by flooding.

The findings demonstrate a potential decrease of 12-22% in GDP at risk, leading to annual savings of approximately $53-96 billion (£41 – £74m), due to the flood control function of dams.

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