Dam planning and construction

A town announces ambitious plans for expansion and development, but a new dam will be required to ensure a safe, secure water supply. Where should the new dam go? How can the water company balance the needs of different interest groups and the environment?

This suite of five, free downloadable geography lessons for key stage 3-4 teachers produced by The British Dam Society explores the planning and construction of a new dam in a fictitious location.


  1. A new dam
    Students must decide on the location for the new dam
  2. A public consultation
    Students identify possible issues and impacts that will need to be addressed.
  3. Impacts and opportunities
    Students devise ways to monitor these impacts and make the most of new opportunities.
  4. Constructing the dam
    Students select a dam design and manage the effects of construction.
  5. Did you succeed?
    Finally, students interpret data to compare ‘real’ impacts and outcomes against predictions.

Detailed lesson plans, student materials and presentation slides allow you to use the lessons 'off the shelf' with minimal preparation.

As they consider each step, students explore important geographical themes of growth, development, sustainability and the interactions between people and their environment.

Students have the opportunity to:

  • imagine a place geographically and interpret space and place
  • identify and understand interactions, networks and flows
  • appreciate scales and links and the significance of interdependence
  • create and understand sequences of events and their impacts
  • use critical and creative thinking and skills of enquiry
  • analyse evidence, including mapping, data and written statements
  • solve problems and communicate their ideas.


Introduction for teachers and a guide to the resource

Lesson one

Register with the British Dam Society for free to access the following resources:

Lesson two

Lesson three

Lesson four

Lesson five


The British Dam Society (BDS) is an Associated Society of the Institution of Civil Engineers. BDS supports the engineering professions in all technical aspects of dams, and helps to educate the public about their uses and importance.

This resource has been developed in association with EdComs, an educational consultancy that delivers campaigns, strategies and insights to engage young people, parents, consumers, teachers and opinion leaders. EdComs provides market-leading expertise in all areas needed to develop successful initiatives.

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