Diversion Dam


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* Grade 10 Geography Units 12, 13, 14 Essay - Effects of Dam Building Many people have already dammed a small stream using sticks and mud by the time they
become adults. Humans have used dams since early civilization, because four-thousand years ago they became aware that floods and droughts affected their
well-being and so they began to build dams to protect themselves from these effects.1 The basic principles of dams still apply today as they did before; a dam must
prevent water from being passed. Since then, people have been continuing to build and perfect these structures, not knowing the full intensity of their side effects. The
hindering effects of dams on humans and their environment heavily outweigh the beneficial ones. The paragraphs below will prove that the construction and presence
of dams always has and will continue to leave devastating effects on the environment around them. Firstly, to understand the thesis people must know what dams are.
A dam is a barrier built across a water course to hold back or control water flow. Dams are classified as either storage, diversion or detention. As you could
probably notice from it's name, storage dams are created to collect or hold water for periods of time when there is a surplus supply. The water is then used when
there is a lack of supply. For example many small dams impound water in the spring, for use in the summer dry months. Storage dams also supply a water supply, or
an improved habitat for fish and wildlife; they may store water for hydroelectricity as well.2 A diversion dam is a generation of a commonly constructed dam which is
built to provide sufficient water pressure for pushing water into ditches, canals or other systems. These dams, which are normally shorter than storage dams are used
for irrigation developments and for diversion the of water from a stream to a reservoir. Diversion dams are mainly built to lessen the effects of floods and to trap
sediment.3 Overflow dams are designed to carry water which flow over thier crests, because of this they must be made of materials which do not erode. Non-
overflow dams are built not to be overtopped, and they may include earth or rock in their body. Often, two types of these dams are combined to form a composite
structure consisting of for example an overflow concrete gravity dam, the water that overflows into dikes of earthfill construction.4 A dam's primary function is to
trap water for irrigation. Dams help to decrease the severity of droughts, increase agricultural production, and create new lands for agricultural use. Farmland,
however, has it's price; river bottomlands flooded, defacing the fertility of the soil. This agricultural land may also result in a loss of natural artifacts. Recently in
Tasmania where has been pressure from the government to abandon the Franklin project which would consume up to 530 sq miles of land listed on the UN World
Heritage register. In the land losses whole communties must leave everything and start again elsewhere.5 The James's Bay Hydroelectric project, hailed to be one of
the most ambitious North American undertaking of dams was another example of the lands that may be lost. The 12.7 billion scheme was to generate 3 160
megawatts of electricity a day, this power output would be enough to serve a city of 700 000! One of the largest problems with this dam, is that it would be built on
a region that meant a lot to 10 500 Cree and 7 000 Inuit. Lands that their ancestors have hunted and lived on for more than 5 000 years will be flooded along with
90% of their trapping lines.6 If this happened these people must resettle, find a new way of life and face the destruction of a piece of their heritage if this project is
approved. When a dam is being constructed, the river where it is supposed to be built on must be drained. This kills much of the life and disrupts the ecosystem and
peaceful being of all the aquatic and terrestrial animals around it. At fisheries there is a large impact on the fish. The famous Columbia River saw it's stock of salmon
drop considerably after the dams were built, although there were fish ladders built. The salmon were unable to swim upstream when it ... more

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Hoover Dam


Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam is one of Americas greatest civil engineering marvels (Hernan 22) and has become a magnet to those fascinated by human ingenuity at its best (Haussler 30).  With its enormous size and construction during the Great Depression, it was an interesting topic to me.  I would like to major in civil engineering and, at first, I was researching this topic.  I was looking for salary and job descriptions.  Then, I discovered the name John L. Savage, the engineer who supervised the design of the Hoover Dam and many other dams in the United States.  Savage worked on the Minidoka irrigation project in Idaho after joining the United States Reclamation Service in 1903.  His future of building dams first began "When I first went out to the Snake River Valley, he said, I saw only a river and a lot of wasteland.  After the dam was up the land changed. It got water. Farmers moved in to work the soil. Crops grew. Then came villages and towns. That's why I think this is the happiest, most thrilling work in the world (qtd. in McCann).  The characteristics he describes are evident to me, as well as other people in this field.  All of the great buildings and projects of the World were overseen by civil engineers.  These water resources projects, such as the Hoover Dam, not only disturbed the flow of rivers but created towns, industries, and even developed a desert region.  Unfortunately, the dams can also cause adverse effects.
The Colorado River may have been too thick to drink [and] too wet to plow (Boris 4) but, it was not too strong to dam.  The Boulder Canyon Project was first conceived in 1928 (Wassner 98) and was approved for flood control, storage of the Colorado River water, and the production of hydroelectric power (Hoover Dam - FAQs).  John R. Hall explains that the Hoover dam was built to harness the awesome power of the Colorado River (22).  The Department of Reclamation had a huge task on their hands when supervising the construction of the Hoover Dam (Hall 22), previously known as Boulder Dam and changed to Hoover Dam for President Herbert Hoovers strong support of a Dam on the Colorado River (Wassner 97).  First, before even breaking ground, there had to be away to easily access the dam site and house the six-thousand workers who will build the great dam.  Boulder City was created to house the Government and contractor employees, a twenty-two foot wide highway was built to connect with the dam site seven miles away, and Union Pacific railroad built a railway stretching almost thirty-three miles from Las Vegas to Boulder City, and then to the dam site.  The construction would also need electricity so two-hundred and twenty-two miles of a power transmission line was constructed from San Bernardino, California to the dam site.  Now that there was a system of transportation and living, the dam site needed to be prepared and have materials brought in (Hoover Dam - FAQs).  
First, a dam cant be built with the river still flowing; diversion tunnels were created that were four-thousand feet long (Wassner 98) and fifty-six feet in diameter (Gorum).  These alone took two years to build and had to be done during the winter due to the force of the rapids of the Colorado during warm weather.  After the river was diverted, it left behind stinking muck.  This consisted of two million cubic yards of mud and silt.  The residue was hauled off exposing the bedrock of which could support the dam (Wassner 98).  There was no construction company around that could raise enough money for the performance bond, so six companies combined to form Six Companies Inc. (1936: Hoover).  In order to support the demand of the materials for the construction of the dam, steel and aggregate plants were also created (Dam one of).  The railway set up before construction, as well as dump trucks were used to haul these materials and other materials to the dam site (Hernan 22).  
The arch-gravity (The Hoover Dam) Hoover Dam consists mostly of concrete; some 3.25 million cubic yards of it making it impossible to pour the structure in one ... more

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