Downstream Impacts

Children of the Salween River

Children by the Salween River in Thailand, International Day of Action for Rivers 2012
Children by the Salween River in Thailand, International Day of Action for Rivers 2012 Hundreds of kilometers downstream from where I was this time last year, on this International Day of Action for Rivers it became clear to me that a major reason why communities in Burma and Thailand are opposed to dam building on the Salween River is because of their children. Half of those gathered on March 14 along the Salween's banks in a small village in Thailand were kids. Dressed in traditional attire, they danced and sang for an audience of over 200 villagers, artists, activists, journalists, and e

3S Community Joint Statement on the Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Joint StatementNational Consultation Workshop on Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam- 400MW We, 68 representatives including 29 females, of indigenous people living along Sesan, Srepok and Sekong rivers, represent more than 500 families from Stung Treng province (6 communes and 18 villages) and from Ratanakiri province (6 districts, 21 communes and 74 villages), who have been seriously and negatively affected by the development of the Yali Falls Hydropower Dam in Vietnam. Given the fact that the construction of the 400 megawatt Lower Sesan 2 Hydropower Dam on the Sesan River in Stung Treng province i

People’s Power Blocks Dam Construction in Northeast India

Activists return turbines for Lower Subansiri Dam to sender
Activists return turbines for Lower Subansiri Dam to sender With more than 150 dams proposed for construction and 11 projects in operation, Northeast India is one of the hotspots of global dam building. The biggest project under construction is the Lower Subansiri Dam on the border between the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Social movements have organized massive protests against the mega-project in the Himalayan foothills over several years. In a huge success, they have just managed to send the turbines for the project back to the sender. As we have documented in our report, Moun

Who Said It Couldn't Be Done?

The most comprehensive guidelines for large dams that protect the rights of river-dependent communities were outlined by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) report in 2000. When it was published, dam-affected communities and their allies worldwide celebrated its recommendations, which charted a better way forward for dam-building and community-centered development. Many governments and institutions took up the challenge of adopting the WCD framework through national dialogues, some of which have led to real policy changes. However, other groups, like the dam industry and the World Bank (wh

Water Alternatives: Special Issue on the WCD+10

Tucuruí dam in Brazil
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tucuruí dam in Brazil Andreas Missbach In November 2000, the World Commission on Dams published its ground-breaking report, Dams and Development, after an unprecedented multi-stakeholder process. Ten years later, Water Alternatives, an independent academic online journal, revisits the WCD and its impacts in a special issue, and explores the question: Is the WCD still relevant? A team of editors and guest editors have selected a range of 20 papers, six viewpoints, and four book reviews that help to illustrate the evolution in the dams debate. The goal of the special issue is to examine the in

Protecting Rivers and Rights

Fishing by the Da River near the Son La Hydropower Project in Vietnam
The 10th Anniversary of the World Commission on Dams ReportFishing by the Da River near the Son La Hydropower Project in Vietnam Hoai ThanhThe most comprehensive guidelines for large dams that protect the rights of river-dependent communities were outlined by the World Commission on Dams (WCD) in 2000. The WCD assessed the development effectiveness of dams in an independent, participatory process, and established what has come to be regarded as the gold standard for dam building. The WCD principles encompass basic values of human rights and sustainable development that are essential to minimi

The Forgotten Downstream Victims of Large Dams

Kharochan village in the Indus Delta
Kharochan village in the Indus Delta An estimated 472 million people have likely been negatively impacted by the downstream impacts of large dams. This is the main finding of a scientific study, which was just published by a group of eminent global freshwater experts. The study documents the impacts that dams have had on some of the world's most productive ecosystems, and recommend measures that can prevent the further loss of floodplains that sustain unique ecosystems and millions of people. A Port Underwater In the 1970s, Kharochan was a bustling town in Pakistan's Indus Delta. The local

Doing Dams Right: The WCD in Practice

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
From June 2010 World Rivers Review In the 10 years since the World Commission on Dams (WCD) released its landmark "Dams and Development" report, no single dam project has exemplified the full scope of its cutting-edge approach, and most dam building nations have failed to implement the WCD framework. But there have been some projects that demonstrate WCD principles in action, as well as laws and policies that reflect the principles espoused by the WCD. Here we highlight a few of these positive examples. Tribal fishermen have fought for dam removal on the Klamath for years Bob Dawson Addres

Ethiopia's Gibe III Dam Endangers Kenya’s Lake Turkana

In the Gibe III Affected Area
Sunday, March 1, 2009
From March 2009 World Rivers ReviewLake Turkana is a miraculous anomaly of life-giving water in a parched and unforgiving land. Formed millions of years ago in the tectonic upheavals that created East Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Turkana is the largest permanent desert lake in the world. Extinct volcanoes enclose the horizon, and the heat is so intense that when the blustery wind from Mount Kulal on the eastern shore temporarily ceases and clouds gather overhead, raindrops sometimes evaporate before they even reach the lake. It is called “ghost rain.”In the Gibe III Affected Area This o

Eskom Eyes the Zambezi

Girl with fish, Zambezi river, Mozambique
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Will Power Demand Lead to Another Destructive Dam on Southern Africa’s Most Heavily Dammed River? Originally published in groundWork magazine, South Africa. It’s a long and often bumpy ride from Maputo to the quiet villages perched above the Zambezi near Mphanda Nkuwa, a gorge whose name means “the scream of the passing water”. We drive through a lush valley awash with newly leafing spring-green trees and wildflowers on our way to Chinangwe. As we slow for villages, young girls come over to sell us mangoes, and boys to gawk at our big stack of camping gear. Finally, we arrive at t


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