Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost

An aerial view of the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, circa 1965.
Monday, August 25, 2014
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 24, 2014, on page SR5 of the New York edition with the headline: Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost. It is available online here. An aerial view of the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, circa 1965. Paul Popper/Popperfoto — Getty Images Thayer Scudder, the world’s leading authority on the impact of dams on poor people, has changed his mind about dams. A frequent consultant on large dam projects, Mr. Scudder held out hope through most of his 58-year career that the poverty relief delivered by a properly constructed

China Dam Project Slated for Nu River Quietly Passes Key Hurdle

Thursday, August 14, 2014
Controversial efforts in China to construct a dam on the free-flowing Nu River recently got a quiet boost. In a little-noticed July decision made public last week, a corporate statement quoted an expert panel in approving a pre-feasibility study for a dam on the river in Tibet. According to the statement, also published on official news portal China Energy News , the panel formed by China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute, Tibet’s economic planning department and associated organizations concluded the feasibility study “basically meets the survey and design requirements at this stage.

Vietnam Screams for Halt to Mekong Dams as Delta Silts Up

Siphandone, Southern Laos. Site of the proposed Don Sahong Dam
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
When the livelihoods of 20 million of your citizens living in the Mekong River delta are threatened, along with 27 per cent of your GDP, 90 per cent of your rice exports and 60 per cent of your seafood exports, what do you do, especially when the sources of that threat, the governments of Laos and Thailand, don't appear to be listening to your objections?

Chasing Water: New Book Lays Out Better Path for Water

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Brian Richter is a water expert with decades of global field experience, a passion for rivers, and a scientist’s approach to problem solving. His new book Chasing Water (Island Press) takes a hard look at what we need to do to improve water management in a time of dwindling resources. The following excerpt lays out some key principals for getting us there. Hundreds of books and thousands of technical papers have been written on the subject of water management, and yet so many communities continue to crash into the wall of scarcity. We urgently need to design, experiment with, and give life

Climate Extremes Raise Concerns Over Amazonian Dams

A woman navigates a boat through the flooded streets of Porto Velho, Brazil.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
On February 4, blackouts swept across some of Brazil’s most populated areas, hitting nearly six million consumers and industrial users. While the energy ministry said the power outages were the result of short circuits in a transmission line, they came at a time of record drought and heat, raising fears that more blackouts could be on Brazil’s horizon.

Experts Recommend Scrapping Dams in Light of 2013 India Floods

Vishnuprayag dam was swept away during the 2013 floods.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Less than a year after a furious Himalayan flood claimed thousands of lives and destroyed numerous houses, roads and other infrastructure in the Alaknanda river valley, an expert body has concluded that hydropower projects exacerbated damages.

Guatemala: Suppressing Dissent at Home and Abroad

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
It’s a rare occasion when the president of a small Central American country tries to get a U.S. Senate aide fired. But Guatemala’s Otto Pérez Molina is not having the typical term. Pérez Molina presided last year over the sharpest escalation in targeted attacks on human rights defenders since Guatemala’s armed conflict ended in 1996.

Una travesía por el Marañón

El río Marañón en todo su esplendor. El pasado y el presente, la cultura viva, la naturaleza y la historia, se unen en su espectacular curso.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Recorrer el río Marañón es toparse con una sucesión de paisajes irrepetibles y en riesgo debido a su potencial hidroeléctrico.

Logging Concessions Enable Illegal Logging Crisis in the Peruvian Amazon

Status of logging concessions in the Peruvian Amazon
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Full article published by Scientific Reports on April 17, 2014Status of logging concessions in the Peruvian Amazon The Peruvian Amazon is an important arena in global efforts to promote sustainable logging in the tropics. Despite recent efforts to achieve sustainability, such as provisions in the US–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, illegal logging continues to plague the region. We present evidence that Peru's legal logging concession system is enabling the widespread illegal logging via the regulatory documents designed to ensure sustainable logging. Analyzing official government data, we f

Five New Peruvian River Runs

Río Numbala-Mayo-Chinchipe
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
While expedition paddler Rocky Contos is in the headlines for his discovery of the new source of the Amazon and guiding trips on Peru’s Grand Canyon-like Rio Marañón for the likes of blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, he’s uncovered another reason to put Peru on kayakers’ radar: a newly discovered wealth of classic whitewater runs — all tributaries to the Marañón in the northern part of the country. The trove puts Peru on par with Chile and Ecuador as a classic kayaking destination.


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