Monday, September 20, 2010

Multiple benefits for dams

Some pro-dam propaganda from Patrick Reynolds in International Water Power and Dam Construction: A multiplicity of water needs can be served by hydro and multipurpose projects, and in the near- to medium-term there is going to be relatively greater demand to employ them as an adaptation strategy to the anticipated increase in weather instability, as projected from the effects of climate change, notes The World Bank Group in its Directions in Hydropower report, which was published last year.

The World Bank says it ‘is keenly aware of this timely and important period for hydropower’ though adds that this particular use of water resources will be only part of the picture in future. It says that given the increasing importance of climate change, water security, and regional cooperation, the bank has consequentially a wider view that ‘encompasses water infrastructure that serves multiple objectives, among which energy may be a subsidiary goal’.

The Directions report adds, ‘As part of a flexible, well-planned water resources infrastructure, hydropower can help countries manage floods and droughts and improve water resources allocations across a complex set of users’.

It goes on, ‘Multipurpose hydropower can also support adaptation to increasingly difficult hydrology by strengthening a country’s ability to regulate and store water and so resist flood and drought shocks.’

But before facing any climate change impact on hydrology, some countries are already experiencing great water-stress, prime among them being Ethiopia, Haiti and Niger, the World Bank said in March, when releasing an internal review of support given to water-related activities over 1997-2007. Almost a third of all projects worldwide approved by the World Bank for funding since 1997 have been water-related.

In every country, from the most water-stressed to those far less strained – possibly even with an abundance of hydrological resources, there is far more attention demanded, and being given now, to a wider range of planning factors, including strategies being developed around river basins, large and small. One such major planning initiative is underway for the river Nile – the world’s longest – and its many regional, national and local sub-catchments….

Water-gate on Miljacka River in Sarajevo, near Alifakovac. Shot by Emx, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: