Benefits of Dams & Levees


Hydroelectric power is made when water passes through a dam. The electricity is made by a device called a turbine. These are made of metal coils surrounded by magnets. The magnets spin over the coils to produce electricity. Turbines are found in dams. The water going through a dam spins the magnets. The energy made is clean and pollution free. From this power we can turn lights on in our houses.


Dams and waterways store and provide water for irrigation so farmers can use the water for growing crops. This idea goes way back into history. Irrigation is an important part of using water. In areas where water and rain are not abundant (like the desert), irrigation canals from rivers and dams are used to carry water.

Flood Control:

Dams help in preventing floods. They catch extra water so that it doesn’t run wild downstream. Dam operators can let water out through the dam when needed. The first upstream flood control dam was built in 1948, Cloud Creek Dam in Oklahoma.

Drinking Water:

Since the water stored in dams is fresh water, it can then be used for drinking water in nearby towns and cities. Some cities get their water from rivers and streams in other states. The water is transported through large canals and waterways.


Dams provide a wonderful opportunity for recreation. In building a dam water is stored behind it. This water is called a reservoir. Reservoirs are used to store water, especially during times of excess. They provide activities like fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and hiking.


Rivers and streams provide a great opportunity for transportation. Barges and ships can navigate along a river carrying large loads of food and merchandise. This style of transportation is effective because the loads carried can be quite large.