Can anyone please help me to substitute "something that harms us, but we which also we depend on" with an equivalent word or phrase?

An example: "Every year, river water causes flooding in its vicinity, but the people living nearby are continuously dependent on the river to make their living".

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, FumbleFingers, anongoodnurse, user66974, ermanen Jul 21 '14 at 15:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I don’t see why this has two “Primarily Opinion-Based” close votes. If there is a word that describes something that is necessary or upon which we depend, but which is also harmful to us, then this is a perfectly fine SWR question, as far as I can see. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 20 '14 at 18:00
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    This question has been asked in many forms. Searching for necessary evil will yield many results, all imperfect (so I've not CV as a dupe). However, necessary evil is the most common phrase to describe this. – anongoodnurse Jul 20 '14 at 18:13

I would call that "a necessary evil." In some cases, it may also be an addiction.


burdensome, onerous (adj.)--having obligations (e.g. legal obligations) that outweigh the advantages.

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