Author(s): Ji Chen; Haiyun Shi
Linked Author(s): Ji Chen
Keywords: Dam and reservoirs; Population; Water Resources; Food; Energy; Sustainability
Abstract: This article reviews a global water resource conservation projects in association with the growths of global population, economy, and energy consumption in the past several decades, and also evaluates the contributions of such projects to future world sustainable development. The world population has rapidly increased from 1. 6 billion in 1900, 2. 5 billion in 1950, 6. 1 billion in 2000, to 7. 0 billion in 2011, and is projected to reach 9. 3 billion in 2050; meanwhile, the world economy has dramatically expanded. To maintain socioeconomic development, the consumption of water, food and energy has increased rapidly as well. However, the total volume of available water resource over the world is about 42, 700 km3 per year, which is limited; the food production largely depends on water supply; the main energy sources are still oil, coal and gas at present, which are regarded as non-renewable resources. Accordingly, we will face serious problems to deal with the challenges of water crisis, food security and energy shortage in the near future. In order to enhance the capability of regulating water resources, a great number of dams (and related reservoirs) have been constructed in the last one hundred years; presently, almost all large rivers over the world have been regulated by dams. The reservoirs can supply sufficient water for irrigated land to ensure the food production, and the hydropower stations can generate electricity from the potential energy of the water impounded by the dams. This article collects the dam data from the ICOLD (International Commission on Large Dams) and GRanD (Global Reservoir and Dam) databases. With data quality control, this article generates a list of 34, 084 named dams with country, year of completion, storage capacity of reservoir and installed capacity of hydropower station (if it exists), and gives a review of the development of dam construction all over the world. Through the correlation analyses, it is observed that the dam construction has great impact on the developments of population, economy, water, food and energy in the several past decades.