002 - Multipurpose water scheme

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Increased dam building for multipurpose water schemes, and their cost and benefits. A case study of contemporary dam building expansion in one major drainage basin.


Dam building creates the possibility to harness water for a number of purposes. Multipurpose dams can impact the traditional fluvial processes found within a drainage basin and this can impact the rivers use.


  • To have knowledge of why there is a need to increased the number of dams found within a drainage basin.
  • To have an understanding of the benefits and problems created by increased dam building.
  • To have knowledge of a specific drainage basin where the building of dams is increasing.

Key Terminology

            • Case Study
            • Alluvium
            • Gravity Dam
            • Saddle Dam

Define the key terms above from our discussions and using the useful links below.

Useful Links

Activity One

You have already explored the issues raised by concerning the building of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. You are now going to look at The Nile from a different point of view and see how the increase in dam building is done to allow different stakeholders to flourish. To do this collect a piece of A3 paper and a set of coloured pens and then watch the youtube clips below.

      1. In one colour give details of five existing dams within The Nile drainage basin. Include their age, location, and purpose (this could be in the form of a map).
      2. Choose a different colour and pick one specific dam that you consider to be a multipurpose scheme. Name the dam and explain why it is considered to be multipurpose.
      3. In a different coloured pen write down the costs of the dam. Think SEEP and to whom the dam is a problem for.
      4. In a fourth colour write down the benefits of the multipurpose dam. Think SEEP and to who the dam benefits.
      5. In a fifth colour write down the history of the dam and how it has been expanded.

Exam Style Question

“Multi-purpose schemes result in more benefits than problems.” Discuss this statement, referring to a named dam-building scheme. [10 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com