Explainer: How hydropower dams can help ASEAN fight climate change

Dams are infrastructures built to control river flow and store large amounts of water in artificial lakes or reservoirs. 

They are used not only for agricultural water supply and flood control, but also to produce electricity. The water released from dams flows through turbines, whose mechanical energy is converted into electricity by a generator. 

Since the construction of the first dams in the late 19th century, thousands of hydroelectric stations have been built across the world. Southeast Asia is no exception, with the mighty Mekong, Irrawaddy and Chao Phraya among the river basins that have attracted the attention of the hydropower industry. 

All these rivers are far from big cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, where the demand for electricity is high. So, why should we be interested in dams? 

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Stefano Galelli