An in-depth study of the hydrological risks to hydropower dams on the Zambezi River gives an early warning about what Southern Africa could be facing as it contemplates plans for more large hydropower dams in a time of climate change.
Muddy Waters: Impacts of Damming the Amazon's Principal Tributary examines the Madeira River Hydroelectric and Waterway Complex in the Brazilian Amazon. With articles on the history of the project, hydrology and sedimentation, fish and fisheries, mercury, and socio-economic issues, the 240-pp. book published in Portuguese is an important tool for communities, activists, journalists, and others, including public officials to deepen their understanding of key issues affecting the project, as well as potential implications of building the dams. The authors include specialists in their field, and
Muddy Waters: Impacts of Damming the Amazon's Principal Tributary
The articles in this book are intended to serve as a tool
for those who seek to better understand the Madeira River
hydroelectric and industrial waterway complex (hidrovia), its history, and its implications for the Amazon
region. The initiative to publish this book came from the non-governmental
headquartered in Washington
DC, as part of the studies on the
projects of greatest impact in the Initiative for the Integration of South
American Regional Infrastructure (IIRSA) fo
March 2008 World Rivers Review The central assumption governing the design and operation of all major water projects has just been declared dead by a group of leading water and climate scientists. Designers and builders of dams need take note.The scientists, led by Paul Milly of the US Geological Service, explained in a recent article in Science that our dams, floodwalls and sewers have been designed and operated under the assumption of "stationarity" - that natural systems fluctuate within a defined set of extremes that can be estimated from past experience. But climate change means "station
(Excerpted from Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams by Patrick McCully)
Riverine ecosystems and human societies have evolved with, and often become dependent upon, seasonal changes in river flows. All storage dams alter to some extent these seasonal patterns, in most cases ironing out hydrological extremes by storing floods and increasing dry period flows. The exact nature of the impacts, however, will depend on the design, purpose and operating regime of the dam and the size of the reservoir.
A dry river in the US Southwest Lori Pottinger
Dams and barrages used
Proponents of large dams are hoping to capitalize on concern for climate change, and are promoting a major expansion of hydropower dams on critical rivers in developing countries. But it's the wrong climate for a dam-building boom. Big dams are at huge risk from climate change's impacts on river flows. Healthy rivers are also key to successful climate adaptation. And large reservoirs can be significant sources of greenhouse gases.
Excerpt from Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams,by Patrick McCully, Zed Books, London, 1996Just as dam builders often skimp on geological surveys, so they have shown themselves willing to build on the basis of seriously inadequate hydrological data. When there is not enough water to turn a dam’s turbines or fill its canals, or so much water that the dam is threatened with breaching, an "Act of God" – drought or flood – will invariably be blamed for the ensuing electricity shortages or inundation. However, an act of dam builder – construction without sufficient dat
1. Executive Summary
From a hydrologist’s point of view, the Feasibility Study of proposed
hydroelectric power dams on the Cunene River has some serious
deficiencies. In order of importance, they are: 1) The study is
organised so as to be virtually inaccessible to even a careful
reader. Separate pieces of the same subject matter are scattered
in illogical places throughout the voluminous corpus of the study.
2) Flow data, and estimations in the absence of data, are of low
reliability. The entire hydrological analysis is based on the
premise that a meagre 12 year streamflow record from a
Protecting rivers and defending the rights of the communities that depend on them.
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