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Dam vs. Reservoir: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on November 22, 2023
A dam is a barrier constructed to hold back water, while a reservoir is a storage space, often a lake, created by a dam to store water.

Key Differences

A dam is built to block the flow of water, creating a body of water behind it. On the other hand, a reservoir, formed by this blockage, serves as a storage area for the water accumulated due to the dam.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
Dams are engineered structures made of earth, concrete, or other materials, designed to withstand water pressure. While, reservoirs are the resultant areas, either natural basins enhanced or entirely man-made, shaped by the dam's construction.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
The construction of a dam can significantly alter the local ecosystem and river flow. However, a reservoir can provide benefits like water supply and recreation, but also impact the environment and local communities.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
Dams require active management for structural integrity and water flow control. Meanwhile, reservoirs are managed for various uses such as water supply, irrigation, flood control, and recreation.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
Dams have been a crucial part of human civilization for irrigation and water control. Conversely, reservoirs have also been central to societies, often becoming focal points for communities and recreation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Function

To obstruct and control water flow
To store and manage water
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Construction

Built using concrete, earth, etc.
Formed by damming a water source
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Environmental Impact

Alters river flow, local ecosystem
Can create new habitats, also disrupts
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Management

Structural integrity, flow control
Water quality, supply, and usage control
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Cultural Significance

Integral in water management history
Often central to community and recreation
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023
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Dam and Reservoir Definitions

Dam

In colloquial use, to damn or condemn.
He dammed his luck for the unfortunate incident.
Harlon Moss
Nov 15, 2023

Reservoir

A place where fluid collects, especially in rock layers.
The oil reservoir was discovered deep underground.
Huma Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Dam

To block up a stream or river.
Beavers dam streams to create ponds.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Reservoir

A supply or source of something.
The library was a reservoir of knowledge.
Janet White
Nov 15, 2023

Dam

A barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water.
The Hoover Dam is a remarkable feat of engineering.
Janet White
Nov 15, 2023

Reservoir

A natural or artificial lake for storing water.
The city's main water supply comes from the nearby reservoir.
Harlon Moss
Nov 15, 2023

Dam

An obstruction in a watercourse.
The fallen trees acted as a natural dam.
Huma Saeed
Nov 15, 2023

Reservoir

A receptacle for holding liquids.
The ink reservoir in the pen was almost empty.
Harlon Moss
Nov 15, 2023

Dam

A structure for controlling or holding back water.
The dam provided essential water for the nearby towns.
Harlon Moss
Nov 15, 2023

Reservoir

An artificial lake where water is stored.
They went boating on the reservoir during summer.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 15, 2023

Dam

A barrier constructed across a waterway to control the flow or raise the level of water.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Reservoir

A natural or artificial pond or lake used for the storage and regulation of water.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Dam

A body of water controlled by such a barrier.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Reservoir

A receptacle or chamber for storing a fluid.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Dam

A barrier against the passage of liquid or loose material, as a rubber sheet used in dentistry to isolate one or more teeth from the rest of the mouth.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

Reservoir

An underground accumulation of petroleum or natural gas.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 14, 2023

FAQs

What is a dam?

A dam is a structure built to control or stop water flow.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is a reservoir?

A reservoir is a storage space for water, often a lake, formed by a dam.
Huma Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Why are dams built?

Dams are built for water supply, flood control, electricity generation, and irrigation.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can dams affect the environment?

Yes, dams can significantly alter local ecosystems and river flows.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

How are dams maintained?

Dams are maintained through regular inspections, repairs, and monitoring of water flow.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Do reservoirs support wildlife?

Reservoirs can create new habitats for wildlife but may also disrupt existing ones.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Are reservoirs natural or man-made?

Reservoirs can be either natural or man-made, often formed by damming a water source.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Are there environmental concerns with reservoirs?

Yes, reservoirs can lead to habitat loss, sedimentation, and changes in local climate.
Harlon Moss
Nov 22, 2023

What is the largest dam in the world?

The Three Gorges Dam in China is currently the world's largest dam.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

How does a reservoir benefit an area?

Reservoirs provide water for various uses, recreation, and can also generate hydroelectric power.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What activities can be done at a reservoir?

Activities like fishing, boating, and swimming can be enjoyed at many reservoirs.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can dams break?

Yes, without proper maintenance and under extreme conditions, dams can fail.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

What is the purpose of a dam spillway?

A spillway is designed to release excess water from a dam to prevent overflow.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

Can wildlife cross a dam?

Some dams are equipped with fish ladders to allow fish to cross, but many are barriers to wildlife.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 22, 2023

What materials are used to build dams?

Dams are constructed from concrete, earth, rock, and other materials.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

How do reservoirs affect water quality?

Reservoirs can improve or degrade water quality, depending on management and environmental factors.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023

Do reservoirs help in flood control?

Yes, reservoirs can help manage flood risk by controlling the release of stored water.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

How do dams generate electricity?

Dams generate electricity by using the water flow to drive turbines in hydroelectric power plants.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Can reservoirs dry up?

Yes, reservoirs can dry up during droughts or if water usage exceeds the replenishment rate.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2023

Are there recreational areas near dams and reservoirs?

Many dams and reservoirs have adjacent recreational areas for public use.
Janet White
Nov 22, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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