Damning Damming Modernity: The Destructive Role of Megadams

Translated Titles





Patrick D. Murphy

Key Words

現代化 ; 水壩 ; 亞洲水壩計畫 ; 氣候變化 ; 土壤鹽化 ; modernity ; dams ; Asian dam projects ; climate change ; soil salinity


Tamkang Review

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

42卷1期(2011 / 12 / 01)

Page #

27 - 40

Content Language


Chinese Abstract

在亞洲,二十世紀末及二十一世紀初見證了高度擴張的超級水壩建築。在許多案例裡這些水壩弊多於利。這些計畫是現代化工具主義心態的縮影,我們必須重加思考,尤其是從氣候變化及計畫的長期損害的觀點。美國的胡佛水壩是這些計畫中的第一樁,其效用正瀕臨終結,暗示著亞洲的許多水壩也可能遭受同樣命運。亞洲許多超級大壩建築所在的河流是由西藏高原的喜馬拉雅冰川系統供水,但是氣候變化造成冰川後退,改變未來水的可利用性,而改變中的降雨模式可能在一區造成洪水氾濫,卻在另一區造成乾旱。尤有甚者,這些水壩會因造成田地鹽化而阻斷大自然的程序,使田地不適於農業耕作。由琳達‧荷根(Linda Hogan)到阿倫答提‧羅伊(Arundhati Roy)到石牟禮道子(Ishimure Michiko),許多作家都起而反對這些做法。他們的書寫提醒我們壩中之水失掉了流動之水生態上的完整無損。生態的認知也警告我們不要接受個別事件的心態,而忽略了氣候變化的衝擊,將每一件水壩計畫認為無關乎其他計畫,也無關乎長期的環境變化。

English Abstract

In Asia, the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have witnessed an extraordinary expansion of mega-dam building. In many cases these dams cause more harm than good. These projects, which epitomize the instrumental mindset of modernity, need to be reconsidered, especially in light of climate change and their long term damage. Hoover dam in the U.S. constituted the first of these projects and its usefulness is coming to an end, suggesting that many dams in Asia may suffer a similar fate. Many of the megadam projects in Asia are being built on rivers fed by the Himalayan glacier system on the Tibetan plateau, yet climate change is altering the future availability of water due to glacial retreat, while changing rainfall patterns may cause flooding in one region and drought in another. Further, these dams have interrupted natural processes with resulting salinization of fields making them unproductive for agriculture. Many writers have spoken against these practices from Linda Hogan to Arundhati Roy to Ishimure Michiko. Their writings remind us that flowing water has an ecological integrity that dammed water has lost. Further, an ecological understanding warns us not to accept the discrete incident mentality that ignores the impact of climate change and treats every dam project as if it was unrelated to other projects and unrelated to long term environmental changes.

Topic Category 人文學 > 人類學及族群研究
人文學 > 外國文學
  1. "Controversy over Dam Fuels Rare Public Outcry in Myanmar." International Herald Tribune 21 Sept. 2011. Rpt. in The New York Times Online. Web. 22 Sept., 2011. .
  2. "Human Appropriation of the World's Fresh Water Supply." Web. 15 Oct., 2010. .
  3. "Rising Debt Burden." 7 Mar., 2007. Web. 30 Jan., 2011. .
  4. "Run of the River Hydro." 2007. Web. 21 Jan., 2011. .
  5. "Water Wars." Web. 21 Jan., 2011. .
  6. Climate Change and the Global Water Crisis. Pacific Institute. United Nations Global Impact. May 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2010. .
  7. Cornish, Audie. "Engineers Report More U.S. Dams Deteriorating." NPR Weekend Edition Sunday. 8 Jun. 2008. Web. 19 Jan., 2011. .
  8. daCosta, Anna. "Conference Brings Attention to Himalayan Climate Threat." WorldWatch Institute. 14 Sept., 2009. Web. 23 Nov., 2010. .
  9. Dell'Amore, Christine. "Nuclear Reactors, Dams at Risk Due to Global Warming." National Geographic News. 26 Feb., 2010. Web. 29 Sept., 2011. .
  10. Dharmadhikary, Shripad. Mountains of Concrete: Dam Building in the Himalayas. Dec. 2008. Web. 28 Mar., 2010. .
  11. Fawthrop, Tom. "Despair as the Mighty Mekong Falters." YP.SCMP.Com. 29 Mar. 2010. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. .
  12. Fradchuk, Artyom. "Tajikistan's Energy Dilemma." Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 15 Feb., 2010. Web. 12 Dec., 2010. .
  13. French, Doug. "Hoover's Dam Folly: Why Keynesian New Deal Policies Failed." Mises Economics Blog. The Christian Science Monitor. 22 Jul., 2010. Web. 11 Nov., 2010. .
  14. Gall, Carlotta. "Floodwaters Give New Life to Pakistani Class Dispute." New York Times Online. 15 Sept., 2010.
  15. Galperin, Elina. "Tajikistan's Water, Its Dams, and Central Asia." Central Asia: The World Affairs Blog Network. 17 Feb., 2009. Web. 19 May 2011. .
  16. Gillis, Justin. "As Glaciers Melt, Science Seeks Data on Rising Seas." New York Times Online. 13 Nov., 2010.
  17. Haseeb, Jamal. "Impact of Indian Dams in Kashmir on Pakistani Rivers." 3 Sept., 2010. Web. 21 Jan., 2011. .
  18. Hitzik, Michael. "The False Promise of Hoover Dam." Los Angeles Times Online. 5 Jul., 2010.
  19. Lloyd's 360° Risk Insight. Global Water Scarcity: Risks and Challenges for Business. 2010. .
  20. Mackey, Robert. "Attempt to Tame Indus River Contributed to Disaster in Pakistan, Expert Says." The Lede. Rpt. in New York Times Online. 18 Aug., 2010.
  21. Madrigal, Alexis. "Old American Dams Quietly Become a Multi-Billion Dollar Threat." Wired Science. 29 Aug., 2009. Web. 3 Dec., 2010. .
  22. Marat, Eric. "Controversy Intensifying over the Construction of Dams in Central Asia." The Jamestown Foundation. 7 Feb., 2009. Web. 19 Jan., 2011. .
  23. Monroe, Robert. "Lake Mead Could Be Dry by 2021." Scripps Institute of Oceanography. 12 Feb., 2008. Web. 17 August 2010. .
  24. O'Keefe, Thomas. "Report on Dam Removal in the Pacific Northwest Published." American Whitewater. 7 Jan., 2011. Web. 19 Jan., 2011. .
  25. Plumer, Bradford. "The End of the Hoover Dam." The New Republic 9 Jul., 2010. Web. 21 Nov., 2010. .
  26. Ramachandran, Sudha. "India Quakes over China's Water Plan." Asia Times 9 Dec., 2008. Web. 15 Oct., 2010. .
  27. Richardson, Michael. "Dams in China Turn the Mekong into a River of Discord: Rivers Know No Borders, but Dams Do." Yale Global Online. 16 Jul., 2009. Web. 5 Mar., 2010. .
  28. Roy, Arundhati. "The Greater Common Good." Frontline 16.11 (Apr. 1999). Web. 20 Sept., 2011. .
  29. Shahin, Sultan. "India's Goddess of Small Dams." Asia Times 9 Mar., 2002. Web. 4 Mar., 2010. .
  30. Sigmund, Pete. "Hoover Dam: A Symbol of Simple Strength." 15 Nov., 2006. Web. 21 Nov., 2010. .
  31. Soong, Kua Kim. "The Sarawak Dams: Multiple Follies." 26 Aug., 2008. Web. 3 Apr., 2010. .
  32. Walton, Brett. "Pakistan and India in Dam Building Race." 30 Nov., 2010. Web. 21 Jan., 2011. .
  33. Yang, Heliosa, et al. "The History of Dams." 1999. Web. 19 Jan., 2011. .
  34. (2007).Chinese Myths of the Deluge.China Heritage Quarterly,9
  35. Abramovitz, Janet(1996).Imperiled Waters, Impoverished Future: The Decline of Freshwater Ecosystems.Washington, DC:Worldwatch.
  36. Ahmad, Usman(2006).The Baglihar Dam.ICE Case Studies,168
  37. Dasgupta, Susmita(2007).The Impact of Sea Level Rise on Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis.World Bank Policy Research Working Paper,4136
  38. Hogan, Linda(1995).Solar Storms.New York:Scribner.
  39. Leslie, Jacques(2005).Deep Water: The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment.New York:Picador.
  40. Mao, Zedong(1971).Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tsetung.Beijing:Foreign Language P.
  41. Merchant, Carolyn(1983).The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution.San Francisco:HarperSanFrancisco.
  42. Nixon, Rob(2011).Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor.Cambridge:Harvard UP.
  43. Pearce, Fred(2006).When the Rivers Run Dry.Boston:Beacon.
  44. Roy, Arundhati(2001).Power Politics.Cambridge:South End P.
  45. Sangroula, Durga Prasad(2007).Sediment Management for Sustainability of Storage Projects in Himalayas-A Case Study of the Kulekhani Reservoir in Nepal.International Conference on Small Hydropower-Hydro Sri Lanka
  46. Tallmadge, John(ed.),Harrington, Henry(ed.)(2000).Reading under the Sign of Nature: New Essays in Ecocriticism.Salt Lake City:U of Utah P.
  47. Ziolkowski, Theodore(1990).German Romanticism and Its Institutions.Princeton:Princeton UP.