Iron Gates Dam


Iron Gates is the largest hydropower dam and reservoir system along the entire Danube, built in 1970. The system consists of two dams, Iron Gate Dams I and II, both jointly operated by Romania and Serbia.

In the 1950's dams were seen as the hallmark of development. They were built to provide drinking water, irrigate the land, produce hydropower, and prevent floods. As a result, today only a third of the world’s 177 large rivers (1,000 km and longer) remain free-flowing, unimpeded by dams or other barriers.  Over 700 dams and weirs have been built along the main tributaries of the Danube.

The Iron Gates system has trans-boundary effects. Located where the Danube forms the boundary between Romania and Serbia, the dam affects the Danube as far upstream as Novi Sad. Among major environmental impacts is the interruption of the river and habitat continuity, hindering fish migration. The reservoirs trap some 20 million tones of sediment per year, but the corresponding absence of natural sediments downstream has been creating erosion problems since the dam was put into operation. In some areas surface water and groundwater levels have dropped by up to 4 metres, greatly affecting the ecological conditions in the area's wetlands.


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WWF staff

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Location: Bulgaria


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Iron Gates Dam | Djerdap National Park | hydropower | Romania | Serbia