A dam is an artificial or natural barrier that impounds water or underground streams, and its primary purpose is retaining water. The reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but also provide water for agriculture and power generation. Dams can be constructed using a wide range of materials, including steel, timber, and mud.
Dams have a history that goes back several thousand years. In ancient Mesopotamia, dams primarily served the purpose of controlling the water level of important rivers, such as the Euphrates. In Africa, the Sadd-el-Kafara Dam, built around 2700 BC and located 25 km south of Cairo, is reputed to be the oldest. In modern times, several important dam projects have been commissioned across the continent. Here, Face2Face Africa looks at the top 5.