Dams are a major issue in sustainable management of finite water resources; they have also become the subject of vigorous public debate. This article considers them in the light of the report of the World Commission on Dams and using the example of Turkey. It is argued that economic development and population growth, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions, make plain the need for dams for hydropower and irrigation. Environmental impact assessment is essential, as are effective programmes for resettlement to avoid the impoverishment of displaced people.

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