Report Launch: Mountains of Concrete, Dam Building in the Himalaya

International Rivers, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People
Monday, January 12, 2009

For Immediate Release

Today, Shripad Dharmadhikary presents his new study on dam building in the Himalayas, Mountains of Concrete: Dam Building in the Himalayas, in New Delhi, India. The study discusses the linkages between climate change and dam-building in the Himalayas, and comprehensively analyzes the impacts of the dam building spree on the region's people, ecosystems, and economy.

Global warming is changing the Himalayas faster than any other region of the world. The mountains' mighty glaciers, the source of most large Asian rivers, are melting.

Shripad Dharmadhikary, the author of Mountains of Concrete says: "Against these dramatic changes, the governments of India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan are planning to transform the Himalayan Rivers into the powerhouse of South Asia. They want to build hundreds of mega dams to generate electricity from the wild waters of the Himalayas."

Most of the large hydropower projects planned for Nepal and Bhutan will be financed and constructed by Indian companies, for export of electricity to India.

Shripad Dharmadhikary: "The dams' reservoirs, tunnels, transmission lines and related works will destroy thousands of houses, rivers, forests, fragile hills, towns, villages, fields, ecology, spiritual sites and even parts of the highest highway of the world, the Karakoram highway. But who will reap their benefits? Will they be able to generate as much electricity as promised? What will happen to the people, ecosystems and rivers of the Himalayas if the dams are built and climate change takes its toll?"

Mountains of Concrete is published by International Rivers.

Media contacts: 

Shripad Dharmadhikary, Report Author, +91 94 259 81403,
Samir Mehta, South Asia Program Director, +1 510 848 1155,

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