Warning: The following post contains language and concepts offensive to supporters of dams or reservoirs!
To begin with the obvious, dams are controversial. They supply water, power and recreation to millions of people around the world, yet they also have irreparable effects on water ecology and the surrounding landscape. In warmer climates, they can contribute extra methane to the atmosphere from the decomposition of drowned organic matter. There is even some debate in geophysical circles over whether the world’s dams have caused the Earth’s axis to tilt and changed its rotational speed.
While the blame for these shifts in the Earth’s position cannot be entirely placed on dams (earthquakes also have the ability to affect the Earth’s rotation or position in space) it raises a valid point. We all know how much water weighs (a full bucket of water is too heavy for many people to lift easily), so hundreds of gigalitres of imprisoned water will of course have some effect on the Earth’s mass, however miniscule. Continue reading