A dam is a barrier that impounds water or underground streams. The reservoirs created by dams not only suppress floods but provide water for various needs to include irrigation, human consumption, industrial use, aquaculture and navigability. Hydropower is often used in conjunction with dams to generate electricity. A dam can also be used to collect water or for storage of water which can be evenly distributed between locations. Dams generally serve the primary purpose of retaining water, while other structures such as floodgates or levees (also known as dikes) are used to manage or prevent water flow into specific land regions. The word dam can be traced back to Middle English, and before that, from Middle Dutch, as seen in the names of many old cities.