River of Many Benefits
A river can serve many uses for the people who live near it, including drinking water, transportation, fun and lots of others. Here are six benefits TVA has to balance in managing the system of dams and reservoirs on the Tennessee River.
Flood damage reduction: Before TVA was started in 1933, there were many terrible floods in the region that harmed people, cities and farms. Today when too much rain falls, the TVA dams hold the water back until it’s safe to release it. Flooding is a much smaller problem today.
Land use: It’s important to take good care of the land that’s near the river and to make some rules about building along the shorelines. That helps to control the runoff of soil into the river and keep the water clean for fish and other animals.
Recreation: There are so many fun things you can do on the water, and fishing, boating and other activities on the Tennessee River bring billions of dollars into the Valley each year.
Clean water: TVA carefully checks the health of the water in the reservoirs to protect people, animals and fish and other aquatic life.
Electricity: River water flowing through the dams makes low-cost, pollution-free electricity and is used to cool equipment at coal-fired and nuclear power plants.
Navigation: Without TVAs locks and dams, large boats and barges would not be able to travel on the Tennessee River.
Sometimes balancing all these benefits can be tricky. Read about why TVA has to have different reservoir levels at different times of the year.