Downstream Impacts

A World of Hurt

The Colorado River at the Grand Canyon.
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
New Research Reveals Massive Impacts of Damming on World’s Large Rivers The extent to which dams affect the world’s large river systems is the focus of a major new study by a research team from the Landscape Ecology Group at Umeå University, Sweden. The rivers studied drain 54% of the world's land area and carry 60% of the planet's river-water. The researchers found that of 292 large river systems, 172 are affected by dams. WRR interviewed the researchers – Mats Dynesius and Christer Nilsson and Cathy Reidy – to discuss the significance of their findings. Q: Your res

Too Many Dams, Too Little Water - Lesotho’s Rivers Could Become "Waste Water Drains"

Tuesday, October 31, 2000
Rivers affected by the 5–dam Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) could deteriorate to "something akin to waste–water drains" if Lesotho delivers as much water to South Africa as the original treaty requires. This is according to the final draft of the Instream Flow Requirements (IFR) study conducted by Metsi Consultants at the request of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA). The report is intended to inform planners’ decisions about the proposed Mashai Dam, which is currently the subject of treaty negotiations between South Africa and Lesotho. The IFR, heralde

Dams Draining Africa's Lake Victoria

Thursday, February 9, 2006
Report Reveals How Uganda Dams are Draining World's Second Largest LakeA report by an independent Kenya–based hydrologic engineer confirms that over–releases from two dams on the Nile in Uganda are a primary cause of the severe drops in Lake Victoria in recent years. The report, Connections Between Recent Water Level Drops in Lake Victoria, Dam Operations and Drought, finds that about 55% of the lake’s drop during 2004–05 is due to the Owen Falls dams (now known as Nalubaale and Kiira dams) releasing excessive amounts of water from the lake. The natural rock formation controlling Lake

Impacts from Dam-induced Mini-Floods

It is proposed that one or two of Mphanda Nkuwa’s four electricity–generating turbines would be operated intermittently to provide for peak energy demands in South Africa, Mozambique’s large neighbor. This operating practice would cause daily fluctuations in river levels downstream, ranging in magnitude from 0.5 to 2.8 meters depending on proximity to the dam. The impacts of these changes in river level would be felt for over 100 miles downstream and affect thousands of people dependent on the river for their livelihoods. The Mphanda Nkuwa Environmental Impact Assessment warns,

Independent Review Reveals Serious Flaws in Sudan’s Merowe Dam

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Merowe Dam in Sudan, the largest hydropower project currently under construction in Africa, is of poor quality and does not address many of the project’s potential impacts on the environment. These are the main findings of an independent review of the EIA which was just published by EAWAG, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. The Merowe Dam is a prominent example of China’s expansive role as an investor in international energy and mining projects. International Rivers Network calls on the companies that are dev

Lancang River Dams: Threatening the Flow of the Lower Mekong

Thursday, August 1, 2013
The Mekong River, known as the Lancang in China, is the heart and soul of mainland Southeast Asia. While countries in the lower stretch of the river have yet to complete a dam on the mainstream Mekong, China has already built six dams on the Lancang. At least 14 more dams are in the pipeline to be completed in the next five to 10 years. Despite concerns over hydrological impacts, sedimentation, water security and fish migrations, China has yet to share any significant information on how the Lancang dams are affecting its downstream neighbors.

Nam Theun 2 May 2007 Trip Report and Project Update

Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Halfway through Nam Theun 2's construction, livelihood restoration programs for affected villagers are in jeopardy. IRN visited the area in March 2007 and gathered first-hand information from communities about how the project is affecting their lives.

Villagers Continue to Suffer Livelihood Losses from Theun-Hinboun Dam in Laos

Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Letter from IRN to Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) General Manager, Alex Sanford, raising concerns about flooding impacts from the Theun-Hinboun dam, and the company's failure to provide adequate compensation and mitigation measures for fisheries losses and to affected villagers along the Nam Kading. Questions about the planned Theun-Hinboun Extension Project, which is likely to exacerbate these impacts, are also posed.

Livestock Epidemic May Be Linked to Theun-Hinboun Dam

Sunday, October 22, 2006
Canadian PhD student Keith Barney writes to Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) to highlight a livestock epidemic that occurred in Ban Pak Vang, a village located along the Hinboun River, in August 2006. The epidemic may be linked to increased flooding as a result of the dam. Read the letter and THPC's response.

Review of the Environmental Management Division of Theun-HInboun Power Company

Wednesday, March 2, 2005
In March 2004, the Theun-Hinboun Power Company conducted a Third-Party Review of its Mitigation and Compensation Program. The review team spent a month visiting villages affected by the project and analyzing the attempts by the company to compensate for project impacts. The review team found that while the company had made "good progress", there were serious concerns over the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of its program to restore affected people's livelihoods.


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