Water & Energy Solutions

Water and Energy Solutions

There are often better, cheaper, less-destructive alternatives to building a large dam, whether to meet energy or water needs, or to reduce the impacts from floods. These solutions - from small-scale, decentralized water supply and new renewables, to large-scale efficiency and conservation options - have frequently been ignored or dismissed out of hand when a large dam project is on the table.

Solar-powered school, Beijing
Solar-powered school, Beijing
Photo: Debra Lew/NREL

In its final report, the World Commission on Dams describes a sensible approach to better evaluate different options for meeting water and energy needs. Put simply, it recommends using a comprehensive, participatory process to first evaluate needs for water, food and energy; followed by a similarly open public process to assess the full range of options for meeting those needs. "In this assessment process, social and environmental aspects have the same significance as economic and financial factors," the WCD report states. It recommends that the first priority should almost always be to make existing systems more effective and sustainable.

Please explore these pages to learn more about ways to address our basic needs for water, energy and protection from floods that also preserve the natural wealth of the world's river systems. For more specific campaign-related solutions click here.