Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Wikipedia.
water power,mechanical energy derived from falling or flowing water, e.g., rivers, streams, and the overflow of dams. The wooden water wheelwater wheel,
device for utilizing the power of flowing or falling water. The Norse wheel is the oldest type known. Despite its name it probably originated in the Middle East, where the swift stream required by this type of wheel is common.
..... Click the link for more information. , long utilized for driving machinery in flour mills and factories, was largely supplanted by the steam engine in the early 19th cent. In modern practice, water flowing from a higher level to a lower level (as from a dam or waterfall) is used to activate a turbineturbine,
rotary engine that uses a continuous stream of fluid (gas or liquid) to turn a shaft that can drive machinery.
A water, or hydraulic, turbine is used to drive electric generators in hydroelectric power stations.
..... Click the link for more information. that drives an electric generator, a process called hydroelectric power generation. The amount of power furnished is proportional to the rate of flow of the water and the vertical distance through which it falls. In a pumped-storage plant, water is pumped upward to a high-level reservoir during periods of low electricity demand by using the excess electricity available. During periods of high demand the facility produces electricity by using the water that flows down from the reservoir. The availability of water power along a fall line, which is a boundary between an upland region and a coastal plain, influenced the location of many cities in the E United States. Similarly, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, which have mountainous regions subject to heavy rainfall near industrialized areas, have highly developed hydroelectric programs. Asia, South America, and Africa have the greatest potential for further water power development, the nations of Europe and North America having developed their resources to the greatest extent. In the late 1990s the countries that produced the most hydroelectric power—about 51 percent of the world total—were the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, and Russia. For information on some important hydroelectric power projects, see Churchill FallsChurchill Falls,
waterfalls of the upper Churchill River, 245 ft (75 m) high, SW Labrador, N.L., Canada; known as Grand Falls until renamed (1965) in honor of Sir Winston Churchill. The falls were first explored (1839) by John McLean, a trader of the Hudson Bay Company.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Niagara FallsNiagara Falls,
in the Niagara River, W N.Y. and S Ont., Canada; one of the most famous spectacles in North America. The falls are on the international line between the cities of Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Niagara Falls, Ont.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Columbia basin projectColumbia basin project,
central Wash., a multipurpose development of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation providing irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control. Its key unit, the Grand Coulee Dam, provides the project with power and pumps the waters of the Columbia River into
..... Click the link for more information. ; Colorado River storage projectColorado River storage project,
a multipurpose plan, undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1956, to control the flow of the upper Colorado and its tributaries and to aid in the development of the rugged, remote upper Colorado River basin; includes parts of Wyo.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Saint Lawrence SeawaySaint Lawrence Seaway,
international waterway, 2,342 mi (3,769 km) long, consisting of a system of canals, dams, and locks in the St. Lawrence River and connecting channels between the Great Lakes; opened 1959.
..... Click the link for more information. ; Tennessee Valley AuthorityTennessee Valley Authority
(TVA), independent U.S. government corporate agency, created in 1933 by act of Congress; it is responsible for the integrated development of the Tennessee River basin.
..... Click the link for more information. ; DniprohesDniprohes
[Ukr. abbr.,=Dnieper hydroelectric station], Rus. Dneproges, a hydroelectric station, central Ukraine, on the Dnieper River near Zaporizhzhya. The hydroelectric station supplies power for the industrial centers of Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk), Kryvyy Rih, and
..... Click the link for more information. .
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
1. the power latent in a dynamic or static head of water as used to drive machinery, esp for generating electricity
2. a source of such power, such as a drop in the level of a river, etc.
3. the right to the use of water for such a purpose, as possessed by a water mill
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005