Dam Building

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  • Dams are constructed to alter waterways, particularly streams and rivers. They can be used for such varied purposes as improving navigation, impounding water for recreational purposes, controlling flooding, creating hydroelectricity, or collecting water for the irrigation of farmland. Although individual dams are sometimes constructed to address local issues, many are also components of regional networks intended to control the waters of entire rivers and their drainage basins.

    Much of the dam building in the United States during the nineteenth century focused on making rivers and their tributaries more navigable for commerce. By the latter portion of that century, the sole focus on navigation began to change as large urban areas in the West were beginning to outgrow their available supplies of water and thus looked to ...

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