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The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams. Brief History of Dams. Need for Dams. Compensate fluctuations in river flow. Meet the excess water demand and energy. Supply water to agriculture, industry and households. Raise the level of water upstream.

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Presentation Transcript
need for dams
Need for Dams
  • Compensate fluctuations in river flow.
  • Meet the excess water demand and energy.
  • Supply water to agriculture, industry and households.
  • Raise the level of water upstream.
  • Commercial reasons like reservoir fishing, leisure activities like boating, fishing, etc.
ecological effects of dams
Ecological effects of Dams
  • Permanent inundation of forests, wildlife and wetlands.
  • Inbreeding due to fragmentation of ecosystems.
  • Erosion of river beds within a few years.
  • Lowering of water levels in downstream areas.
  • Still water undergoes many physical, chemical and thermal changes.
ecological effects of dams contd
Ecological effects of Dams (Contd.)
  • Global Warming.
  • Reservoirs induced increased seismic activities, e.g., Koyna Dam, Maharashtra and Mullaperiyar Dam, Kerala.
  • Impact on aquatic life especially migratory fishes.
  • Increase in salinity levels.
  • Water logging.
empty promises
Empty Promises
  • Leads to high debts and high risks. Often leading to downslide of economies.
  • Widening gap of plant capacity and actual capacity utilized.
  • Is it really sustainable?
  • They control floods but when they do happen they are extreme floods.
  • Dams v/s Drinking water. A myth.
  • Creating for leisure activities. Does it enhance the beauty of a river?
rehabilitation resettlement and displacement
Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Displacement
  • Vague definition of people displaced.
  • No proper surveying of geographical areas to be affected.
  • Land-for-land or Land-for-cash?
  • Reasons for displacement –

1. Towns built for construction workers.

2. Land for proposed wildlife sanctuary.

3. Proposed tree plantations, etc.

international anti dam movements
International Anti-Dam movements
  • Three Gorges Dam, Aswan, Grand Canyon dams, etc all have faced backlash from environmentalists and citizens.
  • Ongoing protests for Narmada, Polavaram dam.
  • Successes like Silent Valley Hydel Project.
the road ahead
The Road Ahead
  • Restore and protect rivers especially their watersheds.
  • Protect forests and wetlands.
  • Floodplain management.
  • Encourage innovative ideas for water recharge.
references
References
  • Silenced rivers - The ecology and politics over Large dams, Patrick McCully, Orient Longman.
  • Temples or tombs? , Darryl D’ Monte, Centre for Science and Environment.
  • The greater common good, Arundhati Roy.
  • The Dam and the Nation: Displacement and Resettlement in the Narmada Valley,Edited by Jean Dreze, Meera Samson and Satyajit Singh , Oxford University Press.
  • Dam versus Drinking water, L C Jain, Parisar.
  • Why Polavaram dam must not be built, Tony Stewart and V Rukmini Rao.
  • A place for Dams in the 21st Century? , WWF Publication
  • Online references:http://www.amulya-reddy.comhttp://www.narmada.org (Images)
slide11

Thank you.

Gautam Rajagopalan(16)

Ipsita Das(18)