Updated: May 9, 2020
Read the following passage. You have 3 minutes to read the passage. Get your timers or your stopwatch ready to time yourself. The time starts as soon as you begin reading the passage below.
Dams have been around for quite some time. The oldest known dam is in Syria and was constructed between 1319-1304 B.C. Many early dams were used for irrigation and the prevention of flooding. Nowadays, dams are built to harness energy from the movement of water through turbines. There are several advantages to constructing dams for hydroelectric power.
First, hydroelectric dams provide much needed clean energy. In the United States, dams produce over 103,800 megawatts of energy and meet 8-12% of the power needs of the nation. Unlike other energy sources such as coal or oil, dams do not emit harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming or air pollution. Since no fossil fuels are burned, no harmful carbon dioxide emissions are released into the atmosphere. Moreover, dams are renewable energy resources as rainfall continually replenishes the water supply in the reservoir.
Dams are also cost effective. Hydroelectric power offers lower electricity costs for its consumers. Because dams provide renewable energy, hydroelectric power prices are reliable and do not fluctuate the way that fossil fuel costs do. When compared with other power sources, dams are also low cost in terms of maintenance and operations. Indeed, most hydropower facilities can run their equipment effectively for long periods without needing costly repairs.
Finally, any dam and its surroundings can become an attractive tourist destination. Recreational activities such as water sports and boating can be enjoyed on a dam’s reservoir. In 2015, over 7.3 million visitors visited the Lake Mead Recreational Area, created as a result of the construction of the Hoover Dam. This influx benefited the local economy by bringing in $311 million. Similarly, the Three Gorges Dam in China, an engineering marvel in itself, offers stunning scenic tours along the Yangtze River. It remains China’s largest industrial tourism site.
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