Uganda's Dams Leave Affected People Behind

People who would be affected by Karuma Dam meet to discuss compensation issues.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe government of Uganda has been on a dam-building binge for years now. While Uganda clearly needs more electricity for its development, these huge projects are creating difficult-to-solve problems that are often not resolved by the time construction is complete.The latest big dam proposed for Uganda’s rivers is Karuma, which will be built by China on the Nile River. The dam was first proposed in 1995, but it failed to take off thanks to the World Bank’s efforts to prioritize Bujagali Dam instead, as well as a corruption scandal with the dam’s cont

Ethiopia’s Biggest Dam Oversized, Experts Say

Thursday, September 5, 2013
In May, Ethiopia diverted the Blue Nile to begin building its largest dam project to date, the 6,000 MW Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam (GERD) – a move that angered Egypt, which fears its water supply will shrink over the many years it will take to fill the huge reservoir. Besides the tensions this huge project is causing politically, there is growing concern that the dam will not produce nearly as much power as it has been designed to. A number of engineers have questioned the dam’s design. Asfaw Beyene, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Center for Renewable Energy

New Large Dams in Amazon Could Lead to Ecosystem Collapse

Thursday, September 5, 2013
From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe Amazon Basin is being transformed into a global economic frontier by intense global demand for commodities and energy, which is fueling rapid expansion of monocultures for grains and biofuels, large-scale hydroelectric dams, industrial mining activities and petroleum and gas development. One of the most significant changes in this wave of Amazonian frontier expansion is the growing importance of mega-development projects currently planned or under construction at a pan-Amazonian scale. The magnitude of the socio-environmental impacts caused by these p

Energy Poverty: The Hidden Energy Crisis

Thursday, September 5, 2013
From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewMore than 1.3 billion people – almost a quarter of humanity – have no electricity. This means they have no light in the evening, limited access to radio and modern communications, inadequate education and health facilities, and not enough power for their work and businesses. Worldwide, more than 3 billion people depend on dirty solid fuels to meet their most basic energy need, cooking. At least 2.5 billion cook with biomass (i.e. wood, dung and agricultural residues), and over half a billion cook with coal. The international community recognizes a n

Here We Go Again

Thursday, September 5, 2013
From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewA dozen years after the World Bank-backed World Commission on Dams (WCD) issued what remains the most comprehensive and inclusive assessment of the dam-building spree of the 20th century and offered a roadmap for moving forward, it seems that collective amnesia has set in at the World Bank. In announcing “we’re back” in the business of financing large and mega-dams, and specifically promoting hydro schemes that would dam the mighty Congo River, inundate the rapids below Victoria Falls, deliver the final blow to the Zambezi Delta, and dot the Himalay

World Bank Returns to Big Dams

A 1990s Washington D.C. protest against the World Bank's role funding Big Dams
Thursday, September 5, 2013
A 1990s Washington D.C. protest against the World Bank's role funding Big Dams. From September 2013 World Rivers ReviewThe World Bank, long the world’s most influential supporter of large dam construction in the global south, has announced its return to funding huge hydropower projects. After nearly two decades of caution, the Bank will join countries such as China and Brazil in funding a new generation of mega-dams, focusing especially on projects in the Congo, the Himalayas and the Zambezi Basin. On July 16, the World Bank adopted a new energy strategy paper that limits future support for

Dams Lite?

Friday, July 19, 2013
Are huge reservoirs a thing of the past? Today, a significant number of the world's proposed dams are being billed as "run of river," which feature smaller reservoirs and, presumably, smaller impacts. Can we believe the industry hype that run-of-river schemes leave rivers in a relatively natural state, or are such projects just “engineering gimmicks” as former WCD commissioner Ted Scudder has called them?

Development Banks Step Up Lending for Hydropower, Sustainability Remains Focus

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Leading multilateral development banks have recently stepped up financing of large hydropower projects after a decade-long slowdown due to environmental and social concerns, according to an analysis of bank data by BNA.

Zambezi Basin Dam Boom Threatens Delta

Batoka Gorge would be flooded if the proposed dam goes ahead.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Batoka Gorge would be flooded if the proposed dam goes ahead. Photo by Tony Wasserman From World Rivers Review June 2013 For years plans have been on the table within the Zambezi basin countries to boost their energy supply by building additional hydropower dams on the river. In the last year, plans for building the Batoka and Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower dams have been advanced by the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments; and the Mozambican government respectively. The realization of these plans will add two huge dams on the mainstem Zambezi River, the largest river in Southern Africa. The 2,574 k

Thai Dam-Affected Villagers Demand Fair Compensation

The failed fish ladder at Pak Mun Dam.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The failed fish ladder at Pak Mun Dam. Photo by David Blake From World Rivers Review June 2013 Decades after several large dams were built in the lower Mun River Basin in northeastern Thailand, affected villagers continue to organize protest camps near the dam sites to demand just compensation for lost land and livelihoods. For years, people displaced by dams built on Mekong tributaries have organized protests, but some have recently stepped up their campaigns for justice. In fact, across Thailand, dam projects have long been resisted by peoples' movements demanding their rights to land, acce


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