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".

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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. Jul 20, 2014 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. Jul 20, 2014 at 18:13

2 Answers 2


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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