The close relationship between large dams and social development (i.e., water, food, and energy consumption) has been revealed in previous studies, and the vital role of large dams in sustaining societies has been recognized. With population projections indicating continued growth during this century, it is expected that further economic development of society, e.g., Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, will be greatly affected by possible challenges, such as water, food, and energy shortages in the future, especially if proper planning, development, and management strategies are not adopted. In our previous study, we have argued that construction of additional large dams will be considered as one of the best available options to meet future increases in water, food, and energy demands, which are all crucial to sustain economic development. In the present study, firstly, we will emphasize the vital role of dams in promoting economic growth through analyzing the relationship between large dam development and GDP growth at both global and national scales. Secondly, based on the projection results of future large dam development, we will preliminarily predict the future economic development represented by GDP. The results show that the impacts of large dams upon GDP are more significant in countries with higher levels of socioeconomic development, which generally supports large dams as the vital factor to promote economic development.
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