Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hydropower frenzy threatens Carpathian mountains

Space Daily via AFP: The frenzy to build hydropower stations across the Carpathian mountains poses an "imminent" threat to biodiversity in Eastern Europe, conservationist group WWF warned Monday.

"The planned construction of thousands of hydropower stations across the Carpathian mountains presents an imminent threat to hundreds of streams and rivers", the WWF said in a press release, ten years after seven Eastern European countries signed a convention to protect the unique mountain range. Romania and Ukraine are particularly at risk from planned small-scale hydropower stations", Konstantin Ivanov, the head of communication for the Danube-Carpathian program, told AFP.

Small-scale hydro generally does not involve the construction of a dam. Instead, part of the flow is diverted through a pipe to a downstream turbine which generates the electricity.

In theory, this should not have a big impact on the environment. But in many cases pipes have been installed in the bed of the stream and diverted water amounts to as much as 80 percent of the flow, posing lasting threats to biodiversity, environmentalists say....

A brook in the Carpathian mountains of the Czech Republic, shot by Jan.Kamenicek, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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