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Multipurpose dams combine two or more functions of traditional single-purpose dams into one hydro infrastructure project. A multipurpose dam may combine storing and supplying water for irrigation, industry and human consumption with other uses such as flood control, power generation, navigation, run-off storage and water discharge regulation.
The construction of multipurpose dams is based on the same principles used for single purpose dams (barriers across a body of water), but additional features may be included to accommodate their different purposes, such as irrigation channels or power generation facilities. Multipurpose dams are particularly appropriate in developing countries, as the multi-functionality of the operations can help meet a number of development goals simultaneously, such as those related to energy, water and food security, and economic development.