Killer Dams

by sbuck4 on April 17, 2015 - 2:13pm

Dams can ruthlessly disturb an ecosystem and destroy its biodiversity, it disrupts the nutrient flow down the river, effectively "starving" the river on the other side of the dam. It interrupts fish migratory patterns, which can annihilate entire fish populations that would otherwise thrive. All of these ecological problems effect the nearby human populations but, the dams are not just killing the ecosystem and its biodiversity, it is killing humans as well.

Low–head barrier dams sometimes called a Weir, are dams that have a marginal profile, were used to run mills, alter the flow of rivers to prevent flooding, and in some cases to generate electricity. These dams have outlived their efficiency but, still remain intact in many states across the country due to the expense of tearing them down.

A new study released by Brigham Young University, showed that 441 people have died since the 1950’s due to these dams continued presence (The Salt Lake Tribune 2015). The strong currents produce what is called a “hydraulic jump” that suck people under (Figure 1).


About half of the deaths have occurred over the fifteen years, many of them children, trying to retrieve a toy or help a friend, one boy died trying to save his best friend, his dog (BYU 2015). These deaths are not just the fault of the dams design or purpose but, elected officials and the residents who do not fight to have these monstrosities destroyed. They are left up time and time again, after every human passing. These concrete blocks of tragedy must be eradicated, never to be seen and never be given the chance to kill again.


References: BYU 2015. About Submerged Hydraulic Jumps. [Online]. Available at:

Journal times 2015. Low lying dams drown hundreds of unsuspecting victims.[Online]. Available at:

The Salt Lake Tribune 2015. BYU study: Low lying dams drown hundreds of unsuspecting victims.[Online]. Available at:

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