Drought Mitigation Trade-offs

What are the trade-offs for mitigating drought using dams?

Hoover Dam and the reservoir it created along the Colorado River. Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Explore the positive and negative aspects of building dams along rivers to create reservoirs. The following links can provide a starting point for your research.

Hands-on Activity

Return to the watershed model you made in Lab 2.

  1. Use clay or other materials to build several trial dams across rivers in your model. Note the characteristics of sites that result in the most efficient dams.
  2. Modify your model landscape in order to create reservoirs of different sizes and depths.
  3. Modify your model landscape to represent a river valley in your region. Place a dam across the river to model what would happen. Use the results to help you document the costs and benefits of building dams to mitigate drought.
  4. Take the DAM challenge at the PBS Building Big website